The following update is from Hannah Thompson, World Relief Chicagoland’s Immigrant Family Services Volunteer Coordinator who works with staff and community volunteers in the H.O.M.E. program for asylum seekers.
What is H.O.M.E.?
World Relief Chicagoland created the H.O.M.E. program with the knowledge that asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable immigrants. Like refugees, asylum seekers have left their homes because of threats to their safety and well-being. And yet they do not have financial support that refugees have, and must wait for the U.S. to make a legal decision about their request for asylum. Without a way to support themselves during that months- or years-long waiting process, asylum seekers are socially, financially, and legally vulnerable.
Thanks to generous partners and volunteers, the H.O.M.E. program provides Housing, Opportunity, Mutuality (Transformative relationships), and Empowerment for asylum seekers throughout the Chicago area. By providing rental assistance and social support, World Relief Chicagoland helps asylum-seeking families rebuild their lives during the long, stressful asylum process.
News from the H.O.M.E. Front
As we closed out the year in December 2021, there were so many exciting developments with families in the H.O.M.E. program! And this is in large part thanks to the faithful partnership of churches and H.O.M.E. volunteer teams. By providing rent assistance, these partners ensure that families seeking asylum have a safe place to live.
One story that stands out focuses on a pivotal moment in the asylum process.
One asylum seeker recently received his Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). This is after months of waiting! Finally, this husband and father could open his first bank account and start a new job. This was such a joyous moment! Not long after receiving the EADs, World Relief volunteers helped him open a bank account. He is working hard in a new job while actively looking for a better position that will allow him to support his family.
You Can Welcome Families H.O.M.E.
It is all thanks to volunteer teams and financial supporters that asylum seeking families can reach important milestones like these. And that they can achieve these goals without worrying about how to pay rent or being at risk of homelessness.
World Relief Chicagoland needs more partners like this who can help us reach more asylum seekers. Whether by volunteering, giving rent assistance, or both, you can make the difference and help welcome families “home.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the H.O.M.E. Program and how you can get involved, contact Hannah Thompson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we can support the well-being of asylum seekers as they seek safety.