South Highland’s Matthew 25 team partners with Inspiritus Birmingham to minister to refugees who have relocated to this area. Here is an update on the team’s first year of service in this important mission.
The Inspiritus Alabama Refugee Resettlement Team is celebrating ONE YEAR since the arrival of our first client ever on December 3rd, 2021!
We have welcomed 112 refugees and Afghan allies to Central Alabama since launching our refugee resettlement program. We have also grown by two new baby boys this year! The Inspiritus team provided intensive services including providing housing, medical case management, education navigation, and cultural orientation to help each of our clients settle into their new community.
Inspiritus Alabama is currently comprised of the Refugee Resettlement Team, the Immigrant Services Team, and the State Refugee Coordinator’s Office. Across all departments, we currently have 12 full time employees, 2 interns, and job openings in each department! Our team represents 4 countries and speaks 7 languages.
In the last year, the Birmingham team placed 11 individuals in jobs with an average hourly wage of $16.55. In addition, the State Refugee Coordinator’s office supported 101 Asylees, humanitarian parolees, and Cuban entrants by providing individualized case management and income supports.
The Resettlement Team, along with Immigration Legal Services, helped our Afghan clients file 12 asylum applications for 40 individuals.
We could not do this amazing work without the support of the local community. The Inspiritus Alabama Resettlement Team and our clients are supported by 40+ community partners, ranging from churches, local nonprofits, schools, government agencies, and corporations. There are currently over 100 volunteers that have worked with our clients providing services such as food distribution, grocery shopping trips, rides to medical appointments, cultural orientations, English language lessons, apartment set ups, donation drives, financial contributions, and relational support. In fact, in the last year, these volunteers have set up 15 apartments and logged 4,379 hours of volunteer service for our clients!!!
During this inaugural year of services, you have helped us raise $91,568.09 in in-kind donations through volunteer hours, donated items, intern hours, and donated space.
With the help of the local community, we also were able to show our clients the generosity of Birmingham. Partnering with the Birmingham Zoo, we had “Zoo Day” in June, celebrated World Refugee Day in July, and gave out over 50 coats through our Hope Tree Drive in 2021. This year we are hoping to give out over 100! We are so grateful to all our financial supporters, Co-Sponsorship groups, and community partners. You make this work possible.
Inspiritus Birmingham opened the Alabama Office for Refugees, a department designated by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to administer the state refugee resettlement program and serve as the State Refugee Coordinator’s office. This office is responsible for overseeing the design, implementation, and coordination of refugee services in the state. In addition, Inspiritus opened an extended employment program, social adjustment case management, Ukrainian services, and is currently launching a refugee health promotion program.
Inspiritus Birmingham also provides Safe Release Services, Home Study and Post Release Services, as well as TVAP (Trafficking Victims Assistance Program) services through our Immigrant Services team. These services ensure the safe release of unaccompanied children to their families by assessing potential placements, providing the required federal fingerprint background checks, and providing extended support to particularly vulnerable families as they adjust to life in America.
Please join us as we celebrate this incredible year of service in Alabama. Here’s to many more!
Betsy Mishoe Community Engagement Specialist, Inspiritus Birmingham