Refugee Resources

The U.S. Department of State places refugees in all 50 states by working with nine, private non-profit national agencies.

The hands of a few children reaching for an orange.

Two of those agencies have affiliates in Rhode Island: Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island and the Diocese of Providence. As the two official resettlement agencies in our state, DHS works with both as they help refugees find a place to live, get healthcare, enroll in school, find a job and apply for our DHS benefits. Find out more about them and other helpful RI organizations and resources below.

Resources by Organization

Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island

Provides client-centered services, advocacy and opportunities based on expertise in family literacy and adult education, employment services, refugee resettlement, translation, interpretation, U.S. citizenship, and immigration services.

Diocese of Providence

Provides client-centered services, advocacy and opportunities based on expertise in family literacy and adult education, employment services, refugee resettlement, translation, interpretation, U.S. citizenship, and immigration services.

AHOPE

AHOPE is a volunteer based organization that was established to assist new Syrian and other refugees coming to Rhode Island with little to their name. They are dedicated to helping families integrate into American society. AHOPE is an entirely volunteer based organization.

Refugee Dream Center

The Refugee Dream Center is a post resettlement refugee agency. The center does referrals, social level assistance and skills development such as English language education for adults, health promotion, cultural orientation, youth mentoring, and case management.

Women's Refugee Care

Women’s Refugee Care is a non-profit organization providing services and support to refugee families from the Great Lakes Region of Africa (Congo, Burundi and Rwanda) - referred to as ECGLC - who reside in Rhode Island. WRC has a special focus on women, girls and promoting gender equality.

Beautiful Day RI

Beautiful Day Rhode Island onramps to employment and economic self-sufficiency for refugees through business innovation. By aligning a need for job-training with consumer demand for socially conscious products.

United Way

United Way provides one number to call for needed programs and services: 2-1-1.

Resources by Topic

Citizenship

All refugees are required to apply for a green card to become a permanent resident after one year in the United States. After five years of residency, they become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Finances

Managing your personal finances involves multiple aspects like creating a budget, choosing a bank, paying taxes. It is important to keep track of your money or you risk falling into debt. A bank can hold your money allowing you to access it with either an ATM or a debit card. To set up a bank account either go to the bank itself or sign up online. Credit cards are issued by a bank or businesses allowing the holder to purchase goods or services on credit. The cardholder promises to pay the card issuer for the amounts paid plus the other agreed charges. Beware of credit cards. The charges can quickly add up and you can be in serious debt. Make sure you know the consequences of owning a credit card before signing up for one.

Housing

In the United States people are either renting or buying houses/apartments. There are two options when considering on renting a place. One is to rent from a private landlord and the second is to rent from subsidized housing. Subsidized housing is a federal program that helps income-eligible individuals, families, senior citizens, and people with disabilities to pay just 30 percent of their income towards their rent. When applying for subsidized housing, you can expect to be placed on a waitlist.

If you live in a house built before 1978, there might be lead paint in the house. This a safety hazard especially for young children. Make sure to take the right precautions to make the house lead safe. Find more information at Child Lead Action program in RI.

HUD provides information on homeownership and rental help, including a HUD Application for getting a subsidized apartment. 

Websites that have housing/renting listings:

Education

By law, children ages (5-18) must be in school. Contact your town or city school district to register your child for school. To register, you will need proof of the child’s age, proof of where you live, and the child’s immunization records.

English Learning

Learning the English language is an essential skill needed to succeed in the United States. Many institutions around Rhode Island offer ESL classes for all ages and at every level. Some of the programs in RI are listed below:

Employment and Training

The EmployRI offers employment services, educational services, and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers.

Public Safety

If you are having a medical emergency or in danger, call 911. An emergency operator will immediately send either the fire department, the police, or an ambulance. No matter who you are or where you come from everyone in the United States is entitled to safety.

Emotional Wellness

Mental health is a serious issue. Everyone can experience stress regardless of age, gender, or background. Stress affects everybody differently, so it is important to learn how to recognize and handle it. The state offers programs that help support refugees and to let them become aware of the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma as a result of the hardships they had to endure.

Family Harmony

Domestic violence should not happen to anybody no matter gender, race, or origin. Sadly, it still does but there is help. Rhode Island offers services that can help with this issue and still ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

Personal Habits

Keeping up with personal hygiene is essential to promoting good health. Habits such as brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and putting on deodorant are good practices. Wash your body and hair at regular intervals that work for you. Also, brushing your teeth at least twice a day minimizes the accumulation of bacteria in your mouth. This can cause serious health problems. If you have any more question consult your doctor.

Depending on the event or destination your clothing choice is going to be different. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing depending on the event or destination you will be going to. What you wear to work will be different to what you wear to a social gathering. Please consult with your employer with the dress code of your job. Overall, you want to take good care of your clothing making sure your clothing is clean and neat.

Transportation

There are many modes of transportation in Rhode Island. If you have a driver’s license, you can buy or lease a car. If not, there is there is local transportation like the RIPTA bus.

When deciding to purchase a car you can either lease or buy one. Deciding on which option is the best fit for you depending on your finical situation and your own preference. Make sure to research both options before making a final decision. All Rhode Island drivers must have liability coverage. Search for car insurance on the internet for the best coverage for you.

National Resources

U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement

U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

International Resources

Refugee Rescue

Refugee International