The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) serves to transition District of Columbia refugees from dependency on public assistance to self-sufficiency. The organization focuses on refugees eligible for the US Refugee Resettlement Program, which is administered by the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, and Health and Human Services (HHS).
ORR provides: temporary assistance to needy families; refugee cash assistance; medical assistance; employment services; language training; foster care placement; services to victims of human trafficking; and repatriation services. It oversees the Refugee Unaccompanied Minors Program. ORR collaborates with a network of service providers to provide these services and ensure that refugees receive the necessary support and assistance.
The website lists eligibility requirements, which include possession of a qualifying I-94 by certain refugees, parolees, Cuban/Haitian entrants, and asylees. Qualifying unaccompanied minors enter the program by referral from the Lutheran Immigrant and Refugee Service (LIRS). Eligible adult clients and families receive referrals by third parties, such as attorneys. The factsheet covers the basics of program services and requirements, and provides contact information.
An increasing number of refugee children develop elevated blood lead levels after entering the United States. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in conjunction with the Office of Refugee Resettlement developed this tool kit. Included are modules for refugee resettlement workers and medical providers, along with resources for both.
CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention in Newly Arrived Refugee Children: Tool Kit.
I Welcome: Refugee Rights Toolkit. An Amnesty International USA toolkit that focuses on building support for Syrian refugees in your community. Includes: draft letters to your local council member or newspaper editor, a draft resolution for your city council, talking points to educate your community and/or elected officials about refugees, and other advice for taking action in your community.
I’m Your Neighbor is a collection of booklists aimed at “building bridges between new arrivals and long-term communities.” Books are browsable by age group, community represented, theme, and setting.
I Welcome Refugee Rights Toolkit
Great resource for Refugee advocates. Good sample letters to the editor and suggestions for how to bring political pressure to bear on behalf of refugees.
Syrian Refugee Crisis Toolkit
Exceptional resource focused on the issues surrounding Syrian Refugees. Great universal advocacy resource for conversations about Syrian displacement and the role of the refugee in modern society.
This website is an attempt to codify a commitment to refugees by librarians and libraries. It is an ongoing, fluid, and mobile effort to bring information and resources to library services to refugee populations. We are actively soliciting information and partnerships. We want to leverage every bit of influence and pull that we possibly can for these often forgotten new members of our society.
Why do refugees matter? In the case of the United States of America refugees are the backbone of our nation. We are a country built on the principle of getting out of somewhere that sucks and trying a new start. If things are crappy back home, America has always been the land of promise, the shining city on the hill.
A lot of us who work in libraries still believe in all that stuff. We actively want to make it happen for as many people as possible. We believe that libraries as public institutions of trust, privacy, and social diligence are the perfect vector for helping refugees of all kinds.
Please use this space to exchange and develop ideas. Librarians have a lot of talent and ability to apply to this issue. We have a unique place of trust in society that lets us get to the heart of these things. Please set your shoulder to the wheel and help us in what we are doing. If you have refugee populations in your community please reach out to them and use the resources here to help. If you need something that you don’t see here please let us know and we will try and find a solution.
Thank you for the work that you do every day. If you are a refugee who has found this page thank you for your courage. Hold fast, together we shall move forward!
Libraries in Refugee Camps
Case study of the impact of a library on a refugee camp in Myanmar. Not immediately applicable for US refugees as we don’t have large scale camps but possibly effective as we look at immigration detainees.
Community Consultations Outreach Toolkit
Toolkit for involving policy decision makers in your work with refugee populations. Looks at how to engage them in your work, how to position your work as reaching the entire community, and how to do follow up visits and asks. Excellent tool to reach community leadership.
Public Libraries in Europe Welcome Refugees
Broad list of services and offerings that libraries across Europe. Good programs to model services on. Not comprehensive but good information across the board.
Library services for immigrants and refugees: actions and principles from a global perspective
Whitepaper looking at issues surrounding library services to refugees. It offers more of an analysis of issues than solutions but is well researched and a good basis for understanding.