Refugee Services

HOW WE HELP REFUGEES

Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida has welcomed refugees to Jacksonville for more than 35 years. We’ve helped people escape desperate situations in Vietnam, Laos, Bosnia, Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, Bhutan, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma, Eritrea, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Our diverse Refugee Services program team – hailing from nine countries and speaking 10 languages – helps refugees create new lives in this country. Ours is the only area program that offers refugees employment services designed to foster self-sufficiency.

We have the experience needed to help. With our network of supporters and community partners, we’re ready to do everything we can for refugee families when they arrive.

DOWNLOADABLE FACT SHEET

THE RESETTLEMENT PROCESS

Refugee Services staff and volunteers begin the resettlement process well before refugee families arrive by preparing apartments with furniture, basic living staples and food. After arrival, the Refugee Services team conducts a 90-day orientation program that helps refugees connect with vital resources, enroll their children in schools, obtain proper work forms, manage healthcare issues, get immunized, and more.

The federal government provides funding for 75 percent of all resettlement program expenses, with the understanding that the community will fund the remaining 25 percent. To donate or volunteer your time, please visit the Get Involved tab on our website.

Did you know? Refugees are required to repay the U.S. government for their travel expenses. Once they begin working, they will receive a bill for travel and resettlement costs.

“After the Taliban consolidated its control over Afghanistan during the country’s Civil War, my family and I were forced to leave our homeland and seek refuge in Pakistan. In 2004, I arrived in this country at 8 years old. The Lutheran Social Services Refugee Services team resettled my family in an apartment in Jacksonville and found my mother a job opportunity. My life simply wouldn’t be the same without Lutheran Social Services.”

Ali Abdulzahir, refugee from Afghanistan

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