What We Do
We offer core services to newly arriving refugee families and individuals for their first three months in the US including:
- Pre-Arrival – Secure housing that is safe, sanitary, in good repair, and affordable. Purchase or collect donations of basic necessities including household items, toiletries, food, appropriate seasonal clothing, furniture and beds for all family members.
- First Day – Receive refugees at the airport when they arrive. Provide a ready-to-eat culturally appropriate meal. Visit the newly arrived family or individual’s home within 24 hours of arrival.
- Within First 5 Days – Apply for social security cards. Conduct an intake interview including a housing and safety orientation and general health education.
- Within First 7 Days – As an Ohio Benefit Bank site, we apply for public assistance: cash, medical, and food. Coordinate an appointment with Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services (FCDJFS) for referral to ESOL and employment programs. Refer non-employable adults to other services.
- Within First 30 Days – Ensure that every refugee has a health screening. Enroll school-aged children in school. Provide a cultural orientation. Conduct a second home visit.
- Within First 90 Days – Disperse final Reception and Placement (R&P) funds (R&P funds are a $1125 per-person one-time federal government grant that is utilized by local resettlement agencies to provide basic needs to newly arrived refugees in their first 90 days. Money from this grant remaining after all basic needs and services are provided is given to the refugee family or individual).
Clients served by the CRIS Resettlement Program are allocated to our agency by Church World Service (CWS) and Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), two of the 9 national voluntary agencies that contract with the US Department of State. All refugees go through a rigorous screening process including interviews by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Resettlement Support Center (RSC), and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who decide if the refugee applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution based on the person’s race, religion, ethnicity, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion if they were to return home. If approved for refugee status by these entities, refugees go through a series of security screenings and background checks by the National Counter-terrorism Center, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. If they pass all of these checks, they receive a medical screening, cultural orientation and are finally ready to travel to a pre-determined destination, like Columbus. They may be joining family or friends or may not know anyone in the US. Our program is responsible for their initial resettlement in either circumstance. All refugees are legally in the US and have a pathway to citizenship. Refugees who are arriving through this process are eligible for CRIS’ Resettlement Program. Refugees who have been in the US for 3 years or less can also receive services from our Resettlement Resource Specialist if they need assistance with medical appointments or medical transportation.
Welcome Teams and Community Involvement
Engaging the community is a huge part of what we do at CRIS. Historically, the US Refugee Resettlement Program has encouraged community support. CRIS partners with faith communities, student groups, families and many other types of community groups to support newly arriving refugees. Community groups of all types are encouraged to become a Welcome Team for new refugee families, volunteering time to act as friends, guides, and advocates to refugees when they first arrive in the US. Welcome Teams can help refugees acclimate more quickly to their new homes, provide much needed financial support, and help with the resettlement core services in a family’s first months.