Before the Refugee Act of 1980 standardized refugee resettlement through the use of resettlement agencies, such as the International Rescue Committee, resettlement was largely conducted privately or through community groups.
With the recent increase in numbers and enthusiasm of local community groups wanting to partner to resettle refugees, IRC is committed to integrating community sponsorship programming at the local and national levels.
What is Community Sponsorship? What is Co-Sponsorship?
- Community sponsorship is the umbrella term which refers to different models of refugee resettlement that pair clients (refugees, SIVs, parolees) with community groups that provide clearly defined financial and in kind contributions and volunteer services.
- Co-sponsorship is a form of Community sponsorship. In this model, the co-sponsor group is within 100 miles of the local IRC office and provides the clearly defined financial and in kind contributions and volunteer services to clients, while efforts are overseen by the local IRC office. As a result, the quality of life for refugee families is immeasurably enhanced.
Co-sponsors can take many forms including local clubs, university communities, faith- based institutions, or community groups, sports teams, book clubs, and many more. Co-sponsors do not have to be a formal 501c3 but must be structured.
What is involved in become a co-sponsor?
For interested parties, responsibilities involved would include:
- A group size ranging from 6-10 people.
- Attend two IRC facilitated training sessions prior to arrivals that will cover topics including: Reception and Placement, Safety and Security, Core Services, Documentation, Cultural Dynamics such as boundaries, challenges, expectations, biases, power imbalances, and scenario exercises.
- Raise $5,000 to support the family you will be working with, $2,000 of which may be covered by in-kind donations such as furniture, household items, gift cards, etc.
- A commitment to six months of on-going mentorship, training and client support.
- Providing Core Services including airport pickups, finding housing, enrolling in public benefits, etc. Groups will have support and training from the IRC.
- Partake in regular check-in sessions with IRC staff while providing services agreed to during training.
Throughout your time with clients the IRC will be responsible for all paperwork and case notes.
For interested groups/individuals who would like to be considered for the co-sponsorship model, please email us at [email protected]
A similar program that you may have heard of that is distinct from Co-sponsorship is Welcome Corps. This is a private sponsorship program that is partnered with a Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH). Private sponsorship groups through Welcome Corps do not work with or receive support from resettlement agencies like the IRC in Missoula.