About Us

WHO WE ARE

Interfaith-RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Services & Empowerment) is a multi-faith, multi-congregational, multi-racial organization committed to welcoming the stranger in central New Jersey.

Interfaith-RISE is an official program site of the US Committee for Refugees & Immigrants. We are committed to resettling refugees in central NJ, assisting asylum seekers before and after release from Elisabeth Detention Center, and supporting local faith and civic groups as they advocate for and work with refugees in their communities. Interfaith-RISE assists with housing, ESL, social services, education, medical assistance, mental health services, transportation, and supportive community integration as families and individuals journey towards self-sufficiency and independence. Interfaith-RISE is a program of the Reformed Church of Highland Park Affordable Housing Corporation, a non-profit organization that provides supportive housing to low-income individuals with special needs.

HOW WE STARTED

In response to the global refugee crisis, a small group of concerned people from central NJ, representing congregations of many faiths, created a refugee resettlement organization in the fall of 2015. From the beginning, we decided to make this an intentionally interfaith effort. Our kick-off walk-a-thon, held in early November, raised enough money to get us started. In February we received our first families and later that year we also welcomed a number of asylees.

Since the beginning of 2016, we have solidified our resettlement effort into the program Interfaith-RISE. The State Department designated us an officially approved resettlement site. The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) sends vetted refugees and immigrants to Interfaith-RISE.

As we head into 2018 we can rejoice that in a year of tremendous challenge to the Refugee Resettlement Program in the United States we have started a program from scratch and have successfully resettled 44 refugees and SIV's since January 2017. In that time, we have also helped five asylees find their first housing and get settled. This year, USCRI will submit its plan to the government and they are putting us in for 100 refugees for the fiscal year 2017-2018 (which started on October 1).  We will know, by the end of January, whether this proposal has been accepted.