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The Soft Landing Fund: The IRC in Northern California's Housing Subsidy

The Soft Landing Fund is a way to directly support refugee families arriving in Oakland and San Jose as they work towards self-sufficiency. The fund is supported entirely by Bay Area community members, like you. 

Photo: Mason Trinca | IRC

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 Oakland and San Jose 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. 

Photo: Mason Trinca | IRC

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.”

How to Give: Give online to the Soft Landing Fund here OR donations can be by mailing a check to the address below. Please write 'Soft Landing Fund’ in the memo line to ensure your gift is directed appropriately. 

International Rescue Committee
Attn: Development Manager
440 Grand Avenue, Suite 500
Oakland, CA 94610

For more information, please contact Development Manager, Stephanie.Heckman [at] rescue.org (subject: Soft%20Landing%20Fund) (Stephanie Heckman).

*First names changed to protect the family's safety & privacy.