Refugee Resettlement in St. Louis
When refugees arrive in America, they frequently come with little more than the clothes on their backs. Staff of sponsoring agencies, including the International Institute of St. Louis, meet refugees at the airport, take them to housing that has been obtained for them, provide orientation, and help them begin the process of building a new life in America. Depending on the needs of the refugee family, services can include registration for English classes for adults and public school for children, job program registration, on-going orientation and healthcare access.
The US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Migration & Refugees (PRM) provides a modest per capita resettlement grant to each sponsoring agency to help address the refugees’ housing, food and other basic needs for up to 90 days after arrival. Refugees are liable for their IOM travel loans, which can frequently cost $1,500 per refugee. New arrivals must begin paying pack their travel loans less than six months after arrival in the U.S.
International Institute-sponsored refugees are provided with a variety of services by staff or through referrals. Click here to view a list of goods and services provided in the first 90 days to all Institute-sponsored refugees. In St. Louis, two agencies serve as refugee sponsors: the International Institute and Catholic Charities Refugee Services. During the first 90 days after each refugee arrives, the sponsoring agency is contractually required to provide certain core resettlement goods and services. How they are provided may vary between resettlement agencies; when making inquiries please be sure to identify a particular refugee’s sponsor to receive the most accurate information.
Additional funding for refugee families
After 90 days in their host community, refugees must be working or have another source of income to provide for themselves. Approximately 50% of the refugees sponsored by the Institute each year are eligible for the Matching Grant Program, which promotes early employment by providing additional cash incentives to “job-ready” refugees we sponsor. Unemployed refugees can qualify for Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance (CMA) offered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for up to eight months upon their arrival in the U.S. CMA cash benefits are pegged to the Missouri’s extremely modest TANF payment rates, where a family of four currently receives less than $400 monthly plus food stamps.
ORR reimburses Missouri for TANF and Medicaid benefits paid to refugee families during their first eight months in the US. Only refugee families who would otherwise be eligible for TANF and Medicaid under Missouri guidelines, i.e., single heads of households with minor children, can continue receiving TANF after eight months. Finally, a portion of the newly arrived refugees can qualify for SSI benefits if they are disabled.
P. Ariel Burgess
314-773-9090, ext. 115
|Click here to go to:||Who is a Refugee?|
|Refugee Resettlement in America|
|Face of St. Louis Refugees|
|How St. Louisans Can Help|