Refugees & Resettlement Services
What are refugees and refugee settlement?
Refugees are people who have fled their homes, businesses, farms and communities in order to escape war and persecution. After fleeing their homeland, they must build their lives from scratch, often lacking proof of identity, marriage, or birth certificates for themselves and their children. Refugees spend years, even decades, waiting in refugee camps until they can finally be resettled to a country, like the United States, and a community, like Buffalo.
The US Resettlement Program was founded in 1980 to serve a humanitarian function and to support domestic urban renewal. Currently the United States resettles 80,000 refugees a year. Last year, 1,600 refugees were resettled in Buffalo. Journey's End resettled 418 of them. This year, the expected number of refugees coming to Buffalo is 2,000. The refugee populations living in Buffalo come from Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Liberia and Cuba.
Prior to resettlement, refugees must undergo a series of interviews with the State Department, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security. All refugees are medically screened by a health care professional working for the US government before coming to the US. They undergo security clearance procedures and cultural orientation.
During the overseas screening and interview time, refugees are assigned to a national voluntary agency. The agency works with the Department of State's Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to ensure refugees receive and have access to the appropriate services upon arrival. Resettlement agencies, like Journey's End, are assigned clients through the national agencies. Journey's End is an affiliate of two national agencies: Church World Service, and Episcopal Migration Ministries.
Journey's End clients come from a variety of backgrounds, and have a range of needs when they arrive. Some arrive fluent in English, with experience living in urban settings and needing only initial support in areas such as employment and registering for school. Others arrive from more rural settings, without any knowledge of English or apartment living. We provide support, advocacy and orientation for all our clients, whatever the need.