New Initiatives Aim to Create Welcome for Refugees in Texas

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The Linking Communities Project will fund three local projects

The Linking Communities (TLC) Project: Creating Welcome for Refugees, now in its second year, is pleased to announce that it will fund three local projects in Texas. TLC, a collaborative project coordinated by HIAS, grew out of a HIAS report recommendation to build capacity at the local and national levels to generate and maintain broad-based commitment to refugee resettlement in local communities throughout the United States.

Due to high unemployment rates and budget deficits, some communities have begun to question the costs of resettlement and oppose the arrival of new refugees. To address this grassroots problem, HIAS proposed a grassroots solution: funding local groups to support innovative initiatives that highlight the benefits of refugee resettlement. In Texas, these include: economic impact evaluation projects, short video series documenting interviews with refugees and more.

This year, the initiatives in Texas chosen by TLC Project partners* will receive between $2,000 and $8,000, and will build upon the great strides made during the project’s pilot year.

“The diversity and high caliber of the projects receiving funding this year will go a long way in creating welcoming communities for refugees in Texas,” said Melanie Nezer, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at HIAS. “The initiatives chosen will help promote refugee resettlement and contribute to the national movement to improve the environment for refugees in our local communities.”

Funded initiatives in Texas:

The Forced Migration Innovation Project—in collaboration with DN/Omega Productions, ROi, Refugee Services of Texas, the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charities, and Refugee Voices—will create a series of short video interviews with refugees across Texas to help dispel broad misconceptions about refugees in the United States.  The interviews will become part of a larger story bank available via social media.

International Rescue Committee Dallas’ sub-office in Abilene, Texas will work with the community of Midland, Texas to break down current barriers between native residents and the quickly-increasing refugee population.  Midland is not a designated resettlement area, and refugee access to services such as health care, education and employment are currently limited.

Refugee Services of Texas’ Amarillo office will conduct an economic impact evaluation project to understand the benefits refugees offer the economy and community in Amarillo, Texas.  Information will be shared in a report to city officials, local businesses, public schools, and the community at large.

For more information about TLC or the grantees, please visit www.hias.org/TLCproject. To speak with the project coordinator, please contact gabe@westendstrategy.com.

*TLC Project partners: HIAS; the Center for Applied Linguistics; Church World Service; Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services; the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants; and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, working closely with Welcoming America and Refugee Council USA.

Media Contact: Gabe Cahn, West End Strategy Team, gabe@westendstrategy.com, 202.776.7700, c: 202.412.1678

FMIP contributes to Forced Migration Review

innovation cover

Special issues of Forced Migration Review ‘Innovation and Refugees’ focuses on eleven contributions from the Humanitarian Innovation Conference (held in Oxford in July 2014), and reflects some of the thinking and current manifestations behind the humanitarian innovation for displaced people. FMIP contributed an article (pg 16) on Resettlement and Livelihoods innovation in the US.

www.fmreview.org/innovation