The Soft Landing Fund will expand its reach and directly support refugee families who are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the Northern California region.
Many IRC clients work in industries being hit hardest by Covid-19, including hospitality, food service, airports/airlines, and others. Many IRC clients have already been laid off and refugees who have just arrived in the U.S. do not have access to much-needed jobs due to hiring freezes. Newcomers do not qualify for unemployment benefits or other Covid-19 employment-related benefits because they have not yet worked in the U.S. long enough. This means many families will need extra support with rent, utilities, and other basic needs until hiring freezes are lifted.
When services can only be accessed online, they become more difficult for hard-to-reach communities who don't own computers, have access to the internet, or do not speak English. As we are seeing, there are many cascading impacts of this outbreak, which will result in many in our community needing increased help from the IRC. Please support the IRC in Northern California's Soft Landing Fund so that we can help hard-to-reach, low-income, newcomer families and individuals including asylees, refugees, survivors of trafficking, and special immigrant visa holders (SIV) with basic necessities at this time.
Thank you for your support!
Give online to the Soft Landing Fund here
For more information, please contact Development Director, Stephanie.Heckman [at] rescue.org (subject: Soft%20Landing%20Fund) (Stephanie Heckman).
Soft Landing Fund History
The Need: Refugees only receive a one-time amount of $1,125 per person to cover initial basic costs and this amount is the same regardless of where in the country they are resettled. The majority of refugees arriving in Northern California are coming to join family members who are often not yet financially stable themselves. As a result, the refugees served by the International Rescue Committee typically require additional financial support as they get on their feet in the United States.
A Solution: You can help! The Soft Landing Fund provides housing assistance for refugees who have arrived in the last six months. 100% of your donation will be disbursed to refugee families in need of modest support with rent and utilities after their first 30 days.
A Story: One benefitting family is the Aryas, who arrived from Afghanistan in October of 2017. The young couple, Abdul & Hadia*, had three small daughters in tow and were joining Hadia’s sister and her family, who had lived in the U.S. for three years. Hadia’s brother-in-law found an open apartment in their Walnut Creek complex. This potential to be close to family support was a relief to the Aryas. A monthly rent of $1,850 felt daunting, but not impossible once they got on their feet. The challenge would be the initial months while they acclimated and Abdul looked for work, hopefully in construction as he was a civil engineer in Afghanistan.
Through The Soft Landing Fund, they were able to get a total of $3,150 in rental support with the monthly payment decreasing each month. Today, Abdul has a job and is studying for the building standards test that will allow him to work in his field. The two older girls are in school, and Hadia attends ESL and stays home with their toddler.
When asked how The Soft Landing Fund has helped his family, Abdul said, “Starting over in a new country is not easy; everything must begin from zero, and the first six months are a challenging transition period in resettlement. Without the IRC’s financial and emotional support it would not be possible. The housing subsidy was especially helpful for us, covering part of our rent. I greatly appreciate your efforts for me and my family; it has been more than we expected but very much needed.”
*First names changed to protect the family's safety & privacy.