Refugee assistance organizations in Jacksonville, FL?
August 31, 2021 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Do you know of any great refugee assistance organizations helping people in the Jacksonville, FL area?

I just read that Jacksonville is pretty high on a list of American cities being utilized for refugee resettlement. That rules, because I live like 30 minutes away and would love to pitch in. Do you know of any groups in the Jacksonville area that are doing good work on this issue that I should try to connect with? I'm happy to just write a check but would also definitely appreciate the chance to donate some time and effort too if that's an option.
posted by saladin to Society & Culture (1 answer total)
Best answer: Katherine Lewin of the Florida Times-Union has an overview of available local resources in this June 25 article, Refugee resettlement and aid agencies prepare for an increase in new arrivals.

I've bold-faced and linked to all of the agencies mentioned in the article. Regarding volunteer opportunities: I live over a thousand miles from Jacksonville, so I can't offer a personal perspective, but Catholic Charities Jacksonville, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida, and the New American Welcome Center at the Jessie Ball DuPont YMCA branch all provide services to refugees and all might welcome some helping hands.
... Staffing and funding cuts have not impacted Catholic Charities’ core mission, officials say, to make sure refugees in Jacksonville have a safe place to land.

It’s just the beginning for Hedayatullah Akbari and his wife, Freshta Samadi, and their children.

“We’re working on trying to make money, trying to save money to buy a car and then to save money to buy a house,” Akbari said in Dari, the Afghan dialect of Farsi, through a translator. “And for the kids, I try my best to send them to school so they become educated and we want all of them to become doctors.”

The Akbari family is just the first drop of a predicted wave of refugees to Northeast Florida that local agencies are preparing for as President Joe Biden’s friendlier immigration policies take effect and COVID-19 travel restrictions loosen worldwide. Organizations that resettle or aid refugees are ramping up or restarting dormant programs in preparation for the coming fiscal year as all predict a significant jump in the numbers of people allowed to enter the United States.

... Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida is now the only other local organization that offers resettlement services after World Relief Jacksonville shut down in 2019 due to loss of funding. Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities Jacksonville are restricted by the grants they receive and can only serve refugees for a certain amount of time after their arrival, anywhere from 90 days to five years, depending on the services needed. Once a refugee has been in the country for longer than five years, they are directed to use community partners like the New American Welcome Center or Jacksonville Legal Aid for assistance. ...

The Jessie Ball DuPont YMCA branch has a New American Welcome Center that just opened up in the beginning of 2019, and it’s one of the partners that has expanded over the last two years. It’s the first of its kind in Florida, and it offers case management for people who have timed out of resettlement services, a food pantry, English classes and preparation for the citizenship test. The center opened the food pantry just last year. ...

Jacksonville Legal Aid is another community partner that plays an integral role in a refugee’s journey to residency or citizenship. ...
posted by virago at 1:32 PM on August 31, 2021

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