It is with great excitement that we announce that JFCS has been selected and approved as a new Refugee Resettlement site by the U.S. Department of State and Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The new JFCS resettlement program will begin welcoming and serving clients as a HIAS affiliate in early January 2024.
After a 29-year hiatus. JFCS will once again begin resettling refugees as a HIAS resettlement partner. Starting in January our resettlement program will begin welcoming 150 refugees arriving directly from overseas, as well as and additional 150 Afghan and Ukrainians who have already arrived to the U.S. and are living in our service region. Additionally, we have been approved for the Lautenberg refugee program through which we will resettle Jews and other persecuted religious minorities from Iran, all with family ties in Los Angeles County. Our Lautenberg clients will begin arriving sometime starting in 2024 and will be resettled in partnership with Jewish Family Service LA, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, JVS SoCal, and the Iranian American Jewish Federation.
JFCS was announced as one of five new HIAS affiliates. “All of us at HIAS are very excited about this significant expansion of our refugee resettlement network, as we welcome new affiliates from coast to coast,” said Alicia Wrenn, HIAS Vice President of Resettlement and Integration. “Each one of these new partner organizations will bring their own unique skills, complementary programming, and knowledge of and connections in their communities to the work of resettling refugees. This ensures quality services for refugees as well as helps the nation increase our capacity to do more for the growing numbers of forcibly displaced. We look forward to refugees building productive lives and becoming assets in their communities with the support of these agencies.”
To further support this program JFCS has merged with the Orange County Jewish Coalition For Refugees (OCJCR). Since 2018 OCJCR has engaged OC and Long Beach Jewish organizations and volunteers to support refugees and asylum seekers, engaged in pro-refugee advocacy, and opened their hearts and homes to those seeking refuge in the U.S. OCJCR was among the first organizations in the country to participate in private sponsorship of refugees in partnership with the HIAS Welcome Circle program, and co-sponsored refugee families in collaboration with Home for Refugees. Some 150 OCJCR volunteers helped resettle 70 individuals from 7 Ukrainian and 11 Afghan families.
Jackie Menter, co-founder and, most recently, Executive Director of OCJCR, has been hired as JFCS’s Director of Refugee and Resettlement Services. Jackie is ecstatic to build JFCS’s newest department. Having worked as a Jewish non-profit professional for two decades, launching a volunteer-led grassroots refugee organization happened organically. From the first day in 2016 that she set foot in a refugee camp in Greece and began helping asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa, she knew she had found her calling.
JFCS will open an office in Orange County in January 2024 that will house our refugee services team. We will have more information to share on this program in the coming weeks and look forward to keeping you updated on program activities, events, and volunteer needs. Thank you for supporting our efforts thus far and please connect with us if you have any questions.
For program related questions, please contact Director of Refugee Services, Jackie Menter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Learn more about refugee resettlement and sign up to volunteer here.