One of the things we’ve been looking to do as a congregation is to find ways to live out the difficult demands of discipleship in ways that express our commitment to love and hospitality. DBCC has been presented an opportunity to co-sponsor a Karen family with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. DBCC has done this in the past with great success, and we feel like the time is right for us to sponsor another family.
The family we’ve agreed to sponsor is a family of five—father, mother, two daughters, and one son. They will be arriving in Louisville on July 21st at 10:00 p.m. at the airport. A number of people have already volunteered their time and resources to help resettle this family. I want to appeal to you, if you haven’t already, to think about how you might help our congregations extend the embrace of Christian hospitality to strangers—in this case, political refugees.
Here is a sketch of some the important information about our endeavor.
The sponsorship team is asked to commit to a 3- or 4 -month sponsorship of the family. This includes meeting the family at the airport; arranging for housing; helping to provide initial food, clothing, household goods, and basic furniture; providing transportation to and from our office, school, the grocery store, and other important places until the refugees have learned to use public transportation; assisting with health screening and other medical needs; helping the family become acquainted with their new community; and being a friend. This is a financial commitment of approximately $2500 and many volunteer hours. Sponsorship itself carries with it no legal obligations and is considered a commitment on the part of the co-sponsoring congregation with Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM). KRM carries the ultimate legal responsibility for resettlement and is responsible to the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement under the Department of State. When a sponsorship team agrees to sponsor a family, our agency assists in every facet of the sponsorship. An initial orientation for the sponsorship committee is provided prior to arrival. After the family’s arrival the case manager will make appointments and advise you and the family on all facets of resettlement. Our job developers will work with the refugees and employers, matching employable adults with appropriate work opportunities. This includes the very important aspect of finding initial work opportunities and upgrading jobs. At the end of three or four months the church’s commitment is fulfilled; our agency will continue to work with the refugees for up to five years after arrival. At the end of the co-sponsorship KRM will continue to work with the family towards self-sufficiency, the most immediate need being finding employment for at least one of the adults in the family.
Upon arrival, each family member receives a one-time sum of $900 (R & P) per person, or $4500 for this family.
This money is designated by USRP to be used for set-up expenses. Many co-sponsors absorb much of these initial costs during the first few months allowing the family to use this money to open a bank account and access as needed.
After arrival determination will be made as to which program best fits this family. The case manager, the match grant coordinator, and the family make a determination of the program by the end of the first month. There are currently two programs for which the family might apply. After arrival determination will be made as to which program best fits this family.
If the family’s best fit is KTAP, after 30 days an application is filed. Currently a family of 5 on KTAP receives a monthly stipend of $383 monthly cash assistance and childcare until the adults are employed and able to take care of their expenses. It takes from 10 days to 1 month to receive the first check. If the family is enrolled into the Matching Grant program after the first 30 days they will receive a weekly cash assistance of $50 per adult and $10 per child until their 120th day and they are guaranteed that the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th months’ rent will be supplied either by the church or by another donor source. Both of these programs will be explained to the family (and to you) after the family’s arrival. After arrival determination will be made as to which program best fits this family.
The family will need a three- bedroom apartment. I will be happy to discuss housing with you. KRM will secure safe, affordable housing on a bus line for the family in a neighborhood where other Karen families are living (depending upon availability).
Additional Initial Approximate Expenses and Costs:
The apartment deposit and first month’s rent will be paid by the case manager out of the family’s R&P funds. KRM will also request that the LG&E account be put in the family’s name. The LG&E deposit will be spread out over the first three month period and included in the monthly bills. Bus Pass-- $45.00 per adult Food—enough for period before food stamps are processed (up to 2 weeks), Paper Products, etc. Note: Paper and cleaning products and personal hygiene items are not covered by foodstamps and can be quite expensive for new arrivals. Pocket money for the first month--$30-45 weekly ($10 per adult plus extra for children’s expenses)
All members of the family will have health insurance coverage for a minimum of eight months upon arrival. After employment the family will be encouraged to use the medical insurance provided through the job.
The family will arrive in the US on July 20th and spend the night in Los Angeles. They will travel to Louisville on July 21st on Delta 6079, arriving at 10:00 pm. Be sure and check with the airlines before leaving for the airport. Arrivals are often late and sometimes re-scheduled. If flights change we will try to reach you as soon as we hear.
Thank you very much for wanting to extend hospitality to those newly arrived in our city. We look forward to working with you.
Here's a link to the refugee camp they will be arriving from: Mae La Oon Camp.
If you'd like to help out, call or email the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact Cheryl Flora or Susie Buchanan.