Refugees are persons living outside their country of origin who cannot return to their homes due to fear of persecution based on their race, religion, or membership in a particular social/political group. Approximately 70,000 refugees are settled to the United States each year. Austin is one of the top cities for refugee resettlement in the United States. We predominantly at this time find ourselves assisting families from Burma, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
Where do we come in?
The U.S. government assists refugee families for a limited time with resettlement in the form of housing, medical care, English language classes, etc. This assistance ends in 3-6 months, and then refugee families must rely on the support and generosity of neighbors and community resources, unless they have managed to find a sustainable income and lifestyle.
MCSS values self-sufficiency, empowerment, self-determination and resilience. We strive to recognize and acknowledge the strengths refugees bring with them, and help them to leverage these strengths to become independent and self-sufficient.
What does the process of assistance look like?
- Families register with MCSS and provide documentation - passports, drivers licenses, proof of all sources of income and debt, etc.
- MCSS assesses their needs and try to help accordingly, which can include but is not limited to:
- Rent assistance
- Job-seeking assistance (including resume construction and review)
- Helping overcome language barriers (ESL classes, tutoring)
- If appropriate, loans for continuing education
- Collection and distribution of furniture donation
- Collection and distribution of Qurbani meat
- Maintaining a database of clients, and helping them feel at home in their new homes, and also connected to the Muslim community here. This means keeping them in the loop, encouraging and welcoming attendance and participation at community-wide events, subsidizing those experiences when possible.