Community Integration Programs
Matching Grant Program
The Matching Grant (MG) program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), supplements refugee resettlement programming at 15 local affiliate sites by providing employment services to eligible clients. The program helps refugees, asylees, victims of trafficking, Cuban/Haitian entrants, certain Amerasians from Vietnam, and Special Immigrant Visa holders attain self-sufficiency through employment within 120 -180 days after the date of eligibility for the program.
Through the MG program, ECDC’s network provide a range of services to MG clients and include resume building, interviewing skills, job finding and application skills, English Language Training, basic financial literacy, short-term skills training in customer service, housekeeping and hospitality, and all other aspects of the U.S. work ethics. In addition to these direct employment services, local sites also provide maintenance assistance in the form of a monthly cash allowance, rent and utilities payments, as well as funds for public transportation. Services must be provided to the maximum extent possible in a client’s language and consistent with their cultural background. In particular, grantees ensure that language assistance is provided to Limited English Proficient clients in accordance with Health and Human Services guidance.
The program also brings in a large community support through volunteerism, cash, and donation of goods, which help meet the program’s cash and in-kind match requirement.
Preferred Communities Program
The Preferred Communities (PC) program, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), helps refugees and other eligible populations such as asylees, victims of trafficking, Cuban/Haitian entrants, Amerasians, and Special Immigrant Visa with vulnerabilities become self-sufficient and integrated members. Under the program, clients will be provided with individualized intensive case management (ICM) services for a period of 180 – 365 days. Types of vulnerabilities addressed under this program include: youth and young adults, single parents, women-at-risk, elderly refugees, refugees with physical disabilities or medical conditions, refugees experiencing social or psychological difficulties (including emotional trauma resulting from war, sexual or gender-based violence), survivors of torture, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees, refugees who are HIV-positive, unanticipated refugee arrivals and secondary migrants.
The PC program also helps local affiliates enhance their capacity to serve such populations by providing resources for community outreach, volunteer recruitment, technical assistance, and professional development training. Through the PC program local affiliates are able to host community integration events, health fairs, and annual community celebrations such as Refugees’ First Thanksgiving, to best serve the clients in the PC program and reach the greater community.
At the end of the ICM service period, desired outcomes for clients include; the achievement of self-sufficiency by clients who have worked with their case manager to identify their unique needs, the overcoming of barriers that previously prevented them from functioning and integrating into the mainstream, and the achievement of specific goals set with their case manager as a result of the services provided through the local PC service provider.
Refugee AmeriCorps Program
ECDC’s Refugee AmeriCorps is a joint initiative formed between the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), implemented under the PC program. Through this partnership, ORR funds the placement of 10 AmeriCorps members at 10 branch offices and affiliates of ECDC to support the work of each local affiliate. CNCS provides the post-service education award to members and sets compliance requirements for the grant. ECDC’s Refugee AmeriCorps program focuses on increasing economic opportunity through employment for vulnerable refugees resettled at the 10 sites. Out of the 10 members, nine focus on providing job training and placement services and one member provides health support.