HOUSING FOR REFUGEES
PRERNA’s housing team volunteers are usually the first to support new refugee families after they are met by Family Ambassadors. Upon arrival into the Bay Area, our clients are picked up from the airport by the ambassadors and driven to transitional housing, which is typically a motel or hotel that has been paid by PRERNA.
The newcomers are provided with a “new family arrival kit” with items to use during their transitional stay. Sometimes, there may be a volunteer family that will host newly arrived refugees temporarily until a permanent home is found.
As one of the most expensive real estate markets in the U.S., it is a challenge to find affordable homes for refugees in the Bay Area. To make this possible, PRERNA invests time to seek out friendly landlords and property managers with rental apartments and houses who are willing to support low-income residents including refugees. During this search, we sign up for eligible rentals that have open “wait lists” so that we are aware when they become available. Our housing team also reaches out to the California Apartment Association and city government offices in the Bay Area for leads on affordable housing.
Once permanent housing is located and acceptable to the refugee family, we help with the rental application process and legal paperwork. PRERNA provides financial assistance with the first month’s rent, a security deposit and utilities registration. To offset housing costs, some of the larger faith-based community organizations have contributed funds to assist refugees with paying a few months’ rent. After the financial requirements are met and forms are signed, PRERNA will assist the refugee families with moving into their new homes.
As part of a family’s orientation, PRERNA helps them explore different local areas for shopping, banking and other important activities. Supplies from donors are secured in a small storage facility and replenished regularly for furnishing basic items in new refugee homes. Volunteers help with collecting donations and inventory management of donated items. At times, PRERNA’s partners such as moving companies will offer pro-bono services, giving their time for picking up items from donors and dropping them off to family homes.
As part of their assimilation, PRERNA helps teach families how to lead a healthy life. Family Ambassadors will guide refugees on cleanliness, etiquette and safety measures while living within a motel, hotel or a more permanent home. They ensure that the newcomers have the tools they need (and know how to use them) throughout their home for assimilating well within their new community.
PRERNA is committed to helping refugees find a safe, secure place to live. Contact us if you have an affordable apartment or house to rent or know of one that will provide a refugee family a home.