During their first four weeks in the United States, as refugees begin their resettlement and work towards self-sufficiency; they realize the need to understand the fundamentals of financial planning. Gaining a deeper understanding of their legal right and responsibilities is also critical.
PRERNA, as part of our partnership program and in tandem with the employment team, provides refugees with important professional services. These services include Tax Attorneys and Advisors, Financial Planners, Immigration Lawyers and Attorneys for Special Needs who generously give their time and expertise to help refugee families.
The availability of these professional services has been developed based on an as-needed approach. Refugee families with specific financial and legal aid needs can request help through the pro-bono services offered by PRERNA’s partners. Corinthian Wealth Management, a local firm in San Jose, is a key community partner providing financial planning and advisory services to our refugee clients. We continue to actively seek additional partners to provide broader levels of support.
- Family Ambassadors – Meet, welcome and interact with families upon arrival to help set up social services including CalWorks, food bank assistance, social security and legal immigration status forms
- Housing Team - Helps families with rental lease agreements and utility enrollment
- Healthcare Team – Gathers and completes all medical history forms, immunization records and arranges comprehensive medical care plans
- Employment Team – Connects refugees to job training and openings, reviews job offer letters, helps with writing resumes, job applications, letters of reference
- Education Team – Assists with school, college and adult English language (ESL) class enrollment, offers guidance on GED exams, higher education opportunities, applications, financial aid, scholarships and tuition assistance programs
- Transportation Team – Provides bus/VTA passes; sets up Uber or Lyft accounts; prepares adult refugees for driver’s tests and license applications
PRERNA Mentor Volunteers also assist refugee clients by showing them best practices for financial and personal management. For example, they can help them with budget planning by showing families how each member needs to contribute or be conservative in their spending choices.
A calendar may be created to highlight important dates (i.e., when bills need to be paid, job interviews and/or school meetings). By developing routines and staying on track, benefits will start to emerge. When rent and other payments are made on time, a good credit history will begin which will enable them to start saving for higher education or other major investments in the future.