International Rescue Committee (IRC)

A Special Thank You to Islamic Relief USA

Photo IRC/ Misha Cohen


Tears and hugs. That is what happens when someone unexpectedly finds out they will be able to stay in their home. That is what poured from Congolese refugee, Claudine, when Islamic Relief USA stepped in and paid off her rent balance last month. The single mother and her two children were on the verge of eviction after a round of lay-offs left Claudine scrambling just to put food on the table.


For refugees in the U.S. resettlement system, there is a limited time window to find work and reach self-sufficiency. The IRC in Silver Spring is primarily set up to help clients in their first 8 months in the states, with limited funds to offer continued support in the months after. While the majority of our clients can transition to economic stability in that time window, there are individuals who need further support. For clients like Claudine, the difference between a month of cash assistance can mean the difference between reaching self-sufficiency or experiencing homelessness.


“As the case worker privileged to award Claudine’s family with this significant financial assistance, I want to say thank you to Islamic Relief USA,” says caseworker Travis Barnwell. “Thank you for providing the means to keep this family in their home. Thank you for offering hope when it was needed most, and giving them a new start. And of course, thank you for the tears and hugs.”


Travis describes Claudine as relentless, eager to learn, and full of life. The small amount of support the grant provided afforded her the time she needed to find stable work. Today, she is employed and able to provide for her family.


Islamic Relief says it is their pleasure to provide the support. “Islamic Relief USA is about giving beneficiaries a hand up rather than a hand out,” says Islamic Relief’s Director of Public Affairs and Institutional Funding, Christina Tobias-Nahi. “We admire the holistic approach of the IRC in giving new asylees a full menu of support from health assessments to job training to tutoring for their children and we are happy to be part of that circle of protection with our rental assistance grant."