The Refugee Resettlement program is the first step towards a new life in Seattle. This program offers assistance beginning the minute a refugee lands at the airport. As an affiliate of the Episcopal Migration Ministry, we provide refugees with the items and the resettlement services they’ll need during their first 90 days in the U.S., including housing, food, furnishings, and orientation to life in their new communities. We coordinate with a wide range of stakeholders, including service providers, local government officials, school districts, churches, volunteers and many others to provide a positive resettlement experience for refugees and their new neighbors.
Initial resettlement services we provide include:
Food and clothing
English classes (ESL)
Employment search assistance
Financial literacy skill classes
For more information contact our case managers:
What is a refugee?
Refugee is a legal term used to define an individual who:
“…owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
How does the resettlement process work?
Every year millions of refugees leave their homelands to escape tyranny and persecution - and a small percentage are allowed permanent residence in a new country, such as France, Canada or the United States. People do not become refugees by choice. Refugees are children, women, and men forced to flee their homes on account of persecution, war, and violence. When refugees cannot return home nor integrate into the first country that provides them safety, they may be eligible for resettlement to a third country. Less than ½ of 1% of the world’s refugees will ever be resettled.
The President, in consultation with congress establishes a ceiling on the number of refugees of compelling humanitarian concern to be offered resettlement in the United States. Each refugee is interviewed by an officer of the immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to determine whether he or she meets the definition of a refugee. However, before a refugee is allowed to resettle in the United States, there must be a sponsor here who is willing and able to assist the refugee begin his or her life in this country. Many sponsors are immediate family members, former refugees, who petition for family members. There are ten voluntary agencies (called VOLAGS) working in cooperation with the U.S. government to find sponsors for the refugees accepted for resettlement in this country.
U.S. VOLAGS include, Church World Service (CWS), Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM). Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), International Rescue Committee (IRC), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), World Relief (WR), and the State of Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services.
RRO is a local affiliate to Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM). Learn more about refugee resettlement.
How many refugees are resettled in the Seattle Area?
The quota is determined every year by the VOLAGS and the federal government and then referred to the local resettlement agencies. The arrival of refugees is spread throughout the year with new families arriving every week.
How Can I Get Involved?
We are always looking for volunteers to help our case managers. Check out our volunteer page for more information. Also check out our donation page for more information about the supplies we provide resettled families and how you can help!