Interfaith-RISE provides essential assistance to refugees and asylees who have experienced severe crises before arriving in our community.
Most of our clients arrive with few resources with which to start a new life. Many have spent years in refugee camps or war-torn countries. Interfaith-RISE accompanies clients on their resettlement journey. We coordinate housing, furnish homes, and supply culturally appropriate food. We also provide case management and connect families with social services, ESL, and employment training. Our organization utilizes the resources of non-profits and community volunteers to assist with the many challenges of making a home in a new country.
Before refugees arrive, Interfaith-RISE secures safe, stable, and financially viable housing for them. We consider walking distance to school, being on the bus line, walking distance to downtown areas, parks, and safety when considering housing. Houses and apartments are then outfitted by donations from the local community. We fill the refrigerator and pantry with culturally appropriate food items so that refugees will be covered for the first days in their new homes. During their first weeks here, Interfaith-RISE helps families apply for cash assistance and food stamps and shows them around the local town familiarizing them with stores, schools, medical offices, and modes of public transportation.
Should we encounter an asylee on short notice, we have several options for finding them housing. We have a network of families with guest rooms and we also frequently (probably 100 nights a year) turn rooms in our church into temporary housing. We have added showers to the church just for this purpose. We also have a relationship with a group called Making It Possible To End Homelessness that makes temporary apartments available to us.
In most cases, adult refugees are willing and legally able to obtain work immediately upon entry into the U.S. Interfaith-RISE works to identify businesses in the area that are willing to hire refugees and asylees as they work on English language skills and other job skills. In addition to helping coordinate transportation and childcare during working hours, Interfaith-RISE helps enroll and assist refugees and asylees to fulfill the obligations of Work First and other job-readiness programs. Since its inception, Interfaith-RISE has also worked hard to identify and provide our own volunteer and work opportunities including work at Churches Accomplishing Long Term Recovery (CALTR), the Global Grace Cafe, and The Reformed Church of Highland Park’s thrift shop. Click here if you have a temporary or permanent job for a refugee.
Interfaith-RISE connects families with ESL programs, enrolls and supports children in school, and helps figure out after school care or child care.
If the refugees have children enrolled in the school system they will be able to attend English conversation groups offered in the elementary school of Highland Park in partnership with the Rutgers graduate school of education. The New Brunswick Board of Education offers ESL classes at the Adult Learning Center located at the high school. The New Brunswick Public library also offers free English conversation groups in a program created by Rutgers Graduate School of Education and The Collaborative Center for Community-Based Research and Service. Interfaith-RISE is working in collaboration with Literacy New Jersey – Middlesex County, to offer ESL classes to help the refugees improve their English language skills in writing, reading, listening, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation.
Our caseworker assists refugees in obtaining Social Security cards and medical examinations, helps refugees to navigate the healthcare system and sign up for Medicare or Medicaid. In addition, refugees receive translation help and transportation and referrals for crisis intervention and counseling services through Interfaith-RISE.
Interfaith-RISE is committed to helping refugees integrate into their local communities. To help us do this, we have many coalition partners in various cities throughout Middlesex County who represent several faith traditions. Click here to read more about our coalition members and opportunities for refugees.