U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) AlbanyU.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) Albany
To address the needs and rights of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide by advancing fair and humane public policy, facilitating and providing direct professional services, and promoting the full participation of migrants in community l... Read more
To address the needs and rights of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide by advancing fair and humane public policy, facilitating and providing direct professional services, and promoting the full participation of migrants in community life.
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is a national voluntary agency that contracts with the federal government to resettle refugees from all over the world in welcoming communities throughout the United States. USCRI Albany opened its doors in 2005, and now serves hundreds of refugees each year, helping them connect with the resources and services they need to adapt to their new homes in the Capital Region. Our mission is to help refugees become self-sufficient, contributing members of our community who can again dream of a hopeful future for themselves and their children. We act to defend human rights, promote self-sufficiency and education, and forge community partnerships through a full range of services and programs.
Refugees flee their homes, businesses, farms, and communities in order to escape war and persecution. Some 70,000 refugees come to the United States each year at the invitation of the federal government, seeking a better life for their families. USCRI's Albany Field Office resettles nearly 400 refugees each year in the Capital Region.
The Albany USCRI staff works very hard with a limited budget to resettle refugees. Mentoring new refugees can require much more time than 3-5 hours per week depending on the family members expectations and their familiarity with US culture and English fluency prior to arrival. The families needs are great and though the USCRI staff tries very hard, the USCRI has no compilation of common refugee issues and suggested resources to solve problems. Common issues include registering children in school, working through the social service bureaucracy to help the refugees receive and maintain benefits to which they are entitled such as food stamps & Medicaid, help preparing for job interviews,explaining tax withholding & income tax filings, plus every day tasks like shopping, using mass transit & helping with school assignments & English. Volunteering for the USCRI is very satisfying, unfortunately the staff is so stretched that more support & training for volunteers is not an option.