Refugee Services

HOW LSS HELPS REFUGEES

  • Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida has welcomed refugees to Jacksonville for more than 35 years. Over the years we’ve helped people escape desperate situations in Vietnam, Laos, Bosnia, Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, Bhutan, Sudan, Iran, Afghanistan, Burma and the Congo.
  • Our diverse Refugee Services program team – hailing from 14 countries and speaking 17 languages – helps refugees create new lives in this country.
  • Refugee Services staff and volunteers begin the resettlement process well before refugee families arrive by preparing apartments with furniture, basic living staples and food. Once settled, 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 and manage healthcare issues.
  • For refugees who have medical or other types of issues that require more extensive management than can be resolved in 90 days, the Refugee Services program offers integration assistance.
  • The Refugee Services Program is the only area program that offers refugees employment services designed to foster self-sufficiency.
  • We are experienced and know how to help, and with our network of supporters and community partners we are ready to do everything we can for refugee families when they arrive.
Downloadable Fact Sheet

STATEMENT FROM MARY STRICKLAND, CEO OF LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES OF NORTHEAST FLORIDA

The Supreme Court recently allowed parts of President Trump’s travel ban to temporarily go into effect, including the 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

While the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on this case in October, the suspension of the refugee resettlement program is expected to go into effect within 72 hours – with an exemption for individuals who can make a credible claim to a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity in the U.S.

The leadership team at Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida (LSS) is working to understand the impacts this suspension will have on our organization and the refugees who are currently in the process of resettling in our community.

LSS has facilitated this type of refugee resettlement for more than 35 years, helping thousands of innocent families escape religious discrimination, persecution, violence and injustice.

We hope to continue our mission of providing new beginnings for these individuals and families as we believe it is the very foundation of our country’s commitment to freedom and justice for people seeking a democratic way of life.

REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT STATISTICS

  • The U.S. resettled 85,000 refugees in 2016
  • Jacksonville has the sixth-largest population of refugees in the country.
  • In Jacksonville, Lutheran Social Services, together with two other nonprofit agencies, resettled a total of 884 refugees last year.
  • Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida successfully settled 69 refugees in North Florida this fiscal year.

“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