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Refugee and Immigrant Services

Refugee and Immigrant Services (RIS)

Since 1941 Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) has assisted families and inidviduals forced to flee their homes due to persectution, war or violence. In 2023, we provided refugee and immigrant services to more than 3,000 individuals from more than 46 countries inclduing Cuba, El Salvador, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Haiti, Honduras, and Syria. The largest refugee welcome agency on the East Coast, we also welcomed more than 6,500 Afghan Allies since the fall of Kabul, and more than 215 Ukrainians since conflict struck their country.  

Our Refugee and Immigrant Services (RIS) program paves the pathway in the D.C. metro area for resettling families and individuals with wraparound support, including legal, employment, housing, and education services. 

From the welcome, our Good Neighbor and Champions program sets up homes and provides an additional sense of community for new families. Our TEA Club (Training for Employment and Adjustment) brings together women to build community and breakdown barriers to the workforce. Youth mentoring in Maryland and Virginia ensure students feel empowered and supported to reach their greatest potential. And case and employment managers assist with navigating state and federal agencies to fulfill eligble program and school enrollment.

Employment and Recertification

Refugees bring significant skills and experiences, however, there is often an underutilization of those skills due to lack of access to fitting employment, certification, and higher education.

Thanks to local business partners, in 2022, our employment services teams in Maryland and Virginia initaited more than 760 job placements, and hosted more more than 163 job/hiring fair opportunities. We also welcomed 95 new partnerships, and grew relationships with employment services partners including Tent Partnership for Refugees, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Gate Gourmet, and Autism Behavior Therapy,.

Our recertification programs help program particpants live into their full potential by provding pathways and support to eligible individuals eager to return to their professional roles with U.S.-compliant certification. 

In addition to our employment and recertification programs, we also worked with University of Maryland, Baltimore County School of Social Work, Texas A&M University, and SUNY Empire State University to research refugee access to higher education. Read our findings here, and view our partners' educational presentations on how to navigate accessing higher education on our Access to Higher Education YouTube channel.

The Immigrant Health Care Connection Program (IHCC)

LSSNCA is part of the Immigrant Health Care Connection Program (IHCC). IHCC is open to all Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-eligible program participants in Maryland to connect them with any needed language-accessible and culturally-informed healthcare. This includes assisting ORR-eligible individuals up to five (5) years with navigating the healthcare system through any medical or mental health care coordination, providing any individual or client-specific health outreach, identifying available Medicaid-accepting providers and appointment scheduling, and providing assistance with health insurance.