JFCS East Bay’s resettlement program has long focused on refugees who have experienced persecution based on their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We have extensive expertise in resettling refugees who are vulnerable and fleeing violent and dire circumstances. Our resettlement team includes Dari, Farsi, Pashtu, Urdu, Arabic, French, and Spanish speakers, many of whom were themselves refugees or immigrants.
With the Trump administration’s efforts to significantly decrease the number of refugees coming into the country, overall resettlement in the U.S. has changed dramatically. Despite this challenging environment, JFCS East Bay has actually been welcoming record numbers of refugees in recent months.
The majority of the refugees we work with are Afghans who served as translators or provided support services for U.S. personnel in Afghanistan. This category of refugees is exempt from the Trump administration’s refugee number cap and are therefore still coming to our country seeking safety and freedom. Due to their cooperation with the United States, former translators and their families are now being targeted by the Taliban and other fundamentalists. Because they arrive having recently been in grave danger, these families are highly traumatized and need intensive, individualized support from our Dari/Farsi-speaking case managers and psychologist to start their new lives in our community.
JFCS East Bay is also the lead organization in the United States resettling LGBT individuals persecuted for their sexual orientation or gender identity. These refugees come mostly from Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
Our resettlement program features comprehensive case management, including:
- pre-migration documentation and assistance
- assistance with finding initial housing
- in-depth and ongoing cultural orientation
- accessing medical and mental health services
- enrolling clients in ESL classes and vocational support
- enrolling children in schools
- linking clients with appropriate local resources
- matching clients with volunteers and tutors
- managing crises or family upheaval
An important component of helping refugees settle into a new country is providing social support, which prevents isolation and encourages community building. In addition to our case management services, JFCS East Bay also provides a range of social gatherings and programs for the populations we serve, including:
- Linking Russian and Afghan seniors to adult day health programs in their own languages.
- Facilitating annual celebrations for both American and home-country holidays, including Victory Day, Ramadan, Mother’s Day, Chanukah, and Passover.
- Holding community potlucks.