During a significant refugee crisis, the Portland Refugee Support Group (PRSG) and Neighborhood House have joined hands once again to make a meaningful difference for families. We’ve been long-time partners with PRSG to help settle families from Afghanistan and Ukraine. The newest families are coming from Haiti to escape extraordinary violence and environmental disasters that have caused food shortages.
The families start off their new life in Portland in a refurbished hotel that functions as a temporary home. We make sure their shelves are stocked with food from our Free Food Market.
“Having a fully stocked refrigerator is a simple yet powerful way to welcome someone who has endured so much,” said PRSG Refugee Programs Director Soheila Azadi. “It’s our way of saying, ‘Welcome home,’”
It’s also important to ensure that food support is not just practical but also thoughtful.
“We had to do some research and training for our staff and volunteers who put the boxes together” for these new families from Haiti, Food Security Program Manager Jim Cooper said. “You don’t want to give someone a completely unfamiliar food item.”
The program is designed to be temporary. With housing and food essentials covered, it allows families to concentrate on finding work and become self-sufficient. Our shared mission with PRSG is to ensure all refugee families transition to more permanent homes smoothly.
Some families have already found a home at Neighborhood House’s 19th Avenue Apartments. Housing Services Staff will help families with integrated services to ease them into their transition, such as signing up for benefits and work permits, registering children in school, English classes and more.
Funding from the Oregon Department of Housing Services has helped to house 12 families. And ODHS recognized PRSG and Neighborhood House’s work by extending that funding to double the families served. However, the funding only covers rent payments. We rely on support from the community to fill in the gaps for things like food and the other resources we provide.
Neighborhood House was founded on the principle to ensure every neighbor has the community and support they need to thrive. We know these new neighbors from Haiti, Afghanistan and Ukraine are on their way to brighter and more stable futures, thanks to our many supporters.
We invite you to contribute to our Partnership Campaign, which directly supports Neighborhood House programs. Your generous contributions go a long way in helping us continue our vital work. Click here to donate.