Helping Refugees Build a New Life in the Northwest
Refugees are victims of persecution who flee their homelands in search of hope, justice and a safe place to raise their families. Most refugees suffer unthinkable tragedy and arrive here with next to nothing. We offer them healing and hope.
For over 40 years, our Multicultural Community Services (MCS) have partnered with communities throughout the Northwest to help more than 45,000 refugees feel at home. We help refugees secure homes and jobs, learn English, navigate educational and public systems, and build fulfilling connections. Refugees built America, and we honor and help them continue that tradition.
Reception and Placement
Reception and Placement covers the period when a refugee family first arrives here. MCS contracts with the U.S State Department to help refugees start rebuilding their lives during their first 90 days here.
Our work starts before they arrive. We secure housing, furnishings and food. Our case managers meet refugee families at the airport and are their first contact here.
After arrival, we connect refugees to the social services that build self-sufficiency. These include medical screening, employment programs, job coaching, ESL classes, registering children in school and temporary cash assistance. We bring them community support that is vital to helping refugees in their journey toward self-sufficiency and feeling at home.
Refugee Case Management Services
Tacoma and Vancouver, WA: Our PRIME program provides free immigration legal assistance and case management services for refugees and asylum seekers. PRIME stands for Promoting Refugee Integration, Mobility, and Empowerment.
Staff work closely with refugees to:
- Determine needs
- Establish goals
- Create path to success
This may involve connecting them to medical care, affordable housing, ESL conversation circles, and transportation access.
Any refugee, asylee, Special Immigrant Visa holder, AmerAsian, or T/U Visa holder who has been in the United State for less than five years can access PRIME Case Management.
How to Help
There are many heartwarming and rewarding opportunities to support refugee families as they settle in to their new homes and become contributing members of the community.
Volunteer Opportunities Include:
- Co-sponsorship: A group from a church or organization acts as the “welcoming committee” for a new refugee family. Co-sponsors help set up apartments prior to arrival, provide transportation for appointments during the first 30 days, along with assisting with shopping and providing general companionship and support.
- Transportation assistance: Help a newly-arrived refugee family get to appointments, learn how to navigate and use public transportation.
- Family Mentorship: Help with a refugee family’s transition to their new lives. The family mentor role is multi-faceted and always evolving as refugee families come from such different backgrounds. Both refugee families and mentors tell us they have learned and grown from the experience.
- Financial Donations: Cash assistance helps refugees get started here. Please visit our online donation page. Under the gift designation section of this page, please specify that you want your donation to go to the Vancouver or Tacoma office.
- Amazon Wish List purchases: You can buy high-needs items to help refugees get settled. Please visit our Puget Sound Amazon Wish List and our Vancouver Amazon Wish List.
Donate Your Used Furniture and Household Goods
Moving? Downsizing? Replacing? We accept donations of new and gently-used household items and furniture! These are used to furnish apartments for newly-arrived refugees. WE WILL PICK UP YOUR DONATIONS. We need:
- Tables, couches and chairs
- Working televisions
- Coffee and end tables
- Linens, blankets and towels
- Kitchen utensils, pots and pans, silverware and cutlery
For more information, please contact us at 360-694-5624 in Vancouver and 253-444-6846 in Tacoma.
Circle of Welcome (Tacoma)
The Circle of Welcome is a program for faith and community groups to make a meaningful commitment to walk alongside a refugee or refugee family as they begin to rebuild their lives here. It is a partnership between the family, the local resettlement agency and the Circle of Welcome Team.
The goals of this program are:
- To improve the outcomes for refugee families arriving in the U.S. by engaging faith and community groups and local resettlement agencies in shared resettlement and integration work in their communities.
- To enhance the longer-term integration and not just short-term stabilization for newly arrived refugees by recognizing the power in transforming the lives of refugees and the communities that receive them
- To create meaningful and simple ways for faith and community groups to engage with and walk alongside refugees in service and friendship.
To schedule a Circle of Welcome presentation in your area, contact Kristin Wells at email@example.com.