Year in Review 2016 - Tennessee Office for Refugees

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Table of Contents 3 Executive Summary 4 About Us 5 Snapshot of 2016 8 Employment 9 Health 10 Education 1 1 Case Management 12 Our Board Committee


Photo courtesy Tennessee Foreign Language Institute

Executive Summary

We have a lot to be proud of this year. Our partners across the state welcomed the first of the Syrian refugees, who fled their homes years ago. They also began the resettlement of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This, in addition to the winding down of the resettlement from Bhutan and Burma, and continued large numbers of Iraqis (many of whom served as interpreters for our armed forces overseas) made for an exciting but challenging year. And our partners rose to that challenge. With over 2,000 refugee arrivals, this was the largest resettlement year in recent history. Thirty-two different nationalities were resettled, which requires of programs an incredibly diverse staff of multi-lingual and flexible professionals. It also necessitates strong relationships with landlords for housing, and with business owners for employment. Finally, it requires a deep and committed volunteer corps that helps to address the critical needs not met through the resettlement program like friendship, connection, and community. In all cases, our partners throughout the state did not disappoint. Please take a few minutes to look through this report and see the impact they made on the lives of refugees – and the incredible efforts of the refugees themselves. We are proud to partner with these agencies across the state of Tennessee in welcoming refugees to our communities. They are welcome here. Sincerely,

Holly Johnson State Refugee Coordinator


About Us

The Tennessee Refugee Program encourages the self-sufficiency of refugees in Tennessee by helping them access short-term cash and medical assistance, medical screenings, employment, English language training, social adjustment, and other specialized services that meet their individual needs. Tennessee Office for Refugees (TOR), a department of Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Inc., administers the Tennessee Refugee Program. TOR is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement as a Wilson/Fish program, allowing a non-profit agency to coordinate the provision of services to refugees across the state. Through contracted partnerships with refugee serving agencies and a holistic approach to the provision of cash and medical assistance, case management, and employment services, the Tennessee Office for Refugees promotes early employment and economic self-sufficiency. TOR provides technical assistance and administrative support to contracted partners and is responsible for regular programmatic and fiscal monitoring.


Snapshot of Federal Fiscal Year 2016 TOR Staff conducted twelve Refugee Resettlement 101 sessions, educating approximately 400 individuals on the process a refugee encounters up until their arrival in Tennessee and the services received once here.

There were 3,708 enrollments in eight programs (not including Cash and Medical Assistance programs).

Six offices in four cities resettled 2397 individuals.

What status did TOR clients arrive under? Asylee SIV Cuban/Haitian Entrant


Those who arrived in the US on their own and then applied for asylum for the same reasons a person could be granted refugee status.


(Special Immigrant Visa holders) Iraqi or Afghan nationals who worked for the US Military as translators or interpreters, or have been employed by a contractor of the US government overseas.


11.9% 81.5%

Cuban or Haitian nationals who have been admitted or granted legal status in the US but have not received a permanent status, have a pending application for asylum. People forced to flee their homes when their lives are threatened because of who they are or what they believe.


What countries did TOR clients come from? CONGO (DRC) 21%

IRAQ 15%


all others combined 19% BURMA 7%

What languages do TOR clients speak?

10.9% English

15.9% Swahili

Of the 2397 individuals resettled in Tennessee, 26% speak more than one language, and 2% speak three or more languages.

7.8% Somali 9.6% Spanish 33% all others combined

22.8% Arabic


Where did TOR clients initially reside?

What are their ages and genders?

41% 26% 31%

Children Working-age Women Working-age Men






ith TOR funding and local community support, Ahmed was able to quickly find a job after arriving in America. Forced to flee from war and violence near his home in Syria, Ahmed, his wife, and their children were resettled through World Relief in Memphis in September of 2016. Ahmed worked as a mechanic in Syria and is excited to be working with his hands in a manufacturing facility. “I am so happy to be working and supporting my family with this job!� Ahmed said.


Photo courtesy World Relief Memphis

1700 clients were enrolled in employment related case management


Because of the dedication of agency staff members who develop relationships with local employers, refugees were employed by 223 different companies or staffing agencies.




83% 8

Among clients who began jobs, 83% were employed 90 days past their hire date.

Of the 789 refugees who gained employment in FFY 2106, 69% were employed within 8 months of arrival.

In FFY 2016, 82% of clients receiving employment assistance were employed in full time jobs. Another 5% entered part-time employment.


The average wage for refugees placed in full-time employment was $10.17.



91 clients were enrolled in health related case management providing them with individualized care.

Of the 1625 people who attended a health orientation session, 76% demonstrated increased understanding of the US healthcare system.


In FFY 2016, 2225 people received medical screenings, resulting in 5858 immunizations.

1625 76%


Among clients who gained full-time employment, 83% were eligible for health benefits.


mery arrived in Nashville from a refugee camp in northern Kenya. He was alone. He had lost his parents. He had pain all over his body. Emery came to Siloam Health for his initial refugee health screening where medical providers cared for him physically and spiritually. Emery began to feel better. He started a new job several weeks later and began taking community college classes. He even started helping other newly arrived refugees find jobs in their new country. Emery recently reflected, “We come to this country as survivors, victims, separated from our families—single mothers, unaccompanied children. It’s a new beginning. A new way of life. Siloam welcomes us unconditionally. We never feel alone thanks to Siloam.”

Photo courtesy Siloam Health




ania moved to Nashville in February 2015 after fleeing Cuba where she worked as a pediatrician. When she arrived, she got a job working as a Medical Assistant at a Spanish speaking clinic. She is grateful for her job, but she dreams of going to medical school in Nashville so she can resume the career she left behind. Since enrolling in the ESL to Go program through the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute, Dania has attended class consistently and has progressed from the beginner to the intermediate level. Dania not only studies English to better communicate in her new environment, but she knows that passing the Michigan Test is her first step in enrolling in a US college. With the encouragement of her ESL to Go teacher and classmates, Dania passed the Michigan Test in August and began taking classes at Nashville State in January. She plans to study for two years at Nashville State Community College before applying to Vanderbilt University Medical School.

Photo courtesy Tennessee Foreign Language Institute

523 661

523 clients were served through for English Language Training programs.

661 teachers participated in trainings to increase their understanding of refugee culture and knowledge of community resources. 94% of participants achieved that goal.



321 parents of school age refugee children participated in parent orientation sessions. 82% increased their understanding of the American school system and comfort interacting with school staff.


375 school age refugee children participated in student orientation sessions. 80% of participants increased their understanding of the American school system and comfort interacting with school staff.

Case Management


uth was 80 years old when she came to the United States. The Elders program enabled Ruth to receive help with her application for SSI and for follow up as needed, including how to deposit her check and how to switch her SSI to direct deposit. After exploring multiple options with her, Ruth’s caseworker at World Relief Memphis helped her find a long-term housing situation with a family member. Because of the case management she received, Ruth now has a sustainable housing arrangement.


70 elders were served in Refugee Elders Grant program funding.

2957 individuals were served in programming entitling them to case management services.



ainab arrived in the United States in late July. Shortly before her arrival, doctors in her hometown in Iraq discovered her need for urgent surgery. The procedure was completed successfully and Zainab was cleared to travel. Once in the US, she was connected with physicians to monitor her health. The surgery she underwent in Iraq led to complications requiring many medical follow-ups, examinations, and x-rays. Through the Health Promotion Program, agency staff were able to connect Zainab with medical resources and assist her in navigating the healthcare system. Her health is improving as we work together to ensure she receives the tools and care to continue her recovery.

Photos courtesy World Relief Memphis


Our Board Committee Allen Arender - Partner, Senior VP of Development, Holladay Properties; Member, Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors; Member, NAIOP Board of Directors Steve Bachus - Retired, Investment Administration, Vanderbilt University; Head of Finance Committee, Aquinas College Board of Directors; Member, Finance Committee, St. Matthew Catholic Church; Member, Finance Committee and Chair of the TOR Committee of the Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors Anne Blaufuss - AVP, Budget and Planning, Ardent Health Services; Member, Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors Bill Farmer - Lawyer, Farmer Purcell, White & Lassiter PLLC; Member, Rochelle Center Advisory Board; Chairman, Metropolitan Nashville Civil Service Commission Dwayne Dillard - Audit Partner, Crowe Horwath, LLP; Chairman, Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors Dinah Gregory - Director of Planning, Coordination & Social Data Analysis, Metropolitan Social Services; Member, “A VOICE for the Reduction of Poverty� steering committee Fr. Mark Hunt - pastor, Holy Rosary Church; Member, Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors Eric Lawson - Division Chief Financial Officer, TriStar Health; Member, Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors Russell Taber - Partner, Riley Warnock & Jacobson PLC; Young Leaders Council Intern to Catholic Charities of Tennessee Board of Directors

Connect With Us 12

2806 McGavock Pike Nashville TN, 37214

877.300.3993 615.352.9520