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Housing Information FAQ's

Published: June 28, 2012

Do you have any publications in languages other than English? What if I don’t see the language that I’m looking for?

We have produced a number of our publications including “Welcome to Your New Home”, “Please Repair” and "New Roots in Common Ground" in multiple languages. Click on the hyperlink on each publication or go to “Publications” on the home page. Choose available languages from the drop-down menu under each publication title. If you do not see a language on this menu, we either do not carry that language or are in the process of producing materials in that language. Please contact us at refugeehouseinfo@mercyhousing.org to suggest additional languages for future inclusion.

I don’t work with refugees, but I would like to order your publications. Can I do this?

Yes and no. Everyone is welcome to download and print PDFs of all of our materials free of charge. We are currently in the process of determining an alternate funding source that would allow wider free distribution of the hard copies of our publications. Contact Scott Robbins if you are interested in using the publications for your own non-refugee organization.

I am a refugee. Will the Refugee Housing Program give me an apartment?

Sorry, the Refugee Housing Program does not directly supply housing for anyone. However, we can help you—or the agency you are working with—learn how to find an affordable housing provider in your area.

What do your refugee housing consultation services cost?

Thanks to our funding through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), our technical assistance services are free of charge to organizations and individuals working with refugees, asylees and other immigrants qualifying for ORR services.

I am a landlord.I have heard from my colleagues that refugees make good tenants and I would like to rent to refugees myself. How can I find refugee renters?

The best way to find potential refugee tenants is to contact your local resettlement agencies. Ask for the Housing Coordinator or a case manager in charge of securing housing. For some of the benefits of renting to refugees, see our brochure “A Landlord’s Guide to Renting to Refugees”

I think that a refugee has been subject to housing discrimination. What can I do?

When looking for a place to call home, discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or familial status is against the law. However, not all of refugees’ housing challenges are Fair Housing violations, and filing a Fair Housing complaint may compromise relations your organization and the housing provider. First, become familiar with what consistutes a Fair Housing violation. Also, find out the facts from as many sources as possible and document, document, document! If you believe that you or a refugee you work with has been the victim of such discrimination, contact your local HUD office to gain assistance with mediation and filling out the official housing discrimination complaint form. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this process or are unclear about whether your situation classifies as a Fair Housing violation.

Why is it that landlords are so unwilling to provide special deals for refugees?

Just as landlords cannot discriminate against refugees, under Fair Housing law, landlords can also get into trouble for giving refugees preferential treatment. Reducing rent, waiving security deposits and moving refugees to the top of waiting lists above other qualified applicants—under most circumstances—can constitute Fair Housing violations if the benefits are not extended to all tenants regardless of refugee status. However, if a voluntary organization can show that the services they provide—for instance proof of a refugees’ background check prior to entering the country—supplants the need for a landlord to incur a certain cost (i.e. in this case the cost of running a background check) then the waiver may be acceptable and may not violate Fair Housing law.

My organization wants to develop housing for refugees. How can you help?

Some refugee service organizations have decided to address refugee housing challenges by developing their own housing stock. This is a big decision to make, however, and most refugee service organizations and mutual assistance associations choosing this path partner with a local organization with housing development expertise. The Refugee Housing Program will gladly help you locate and contact affordable housing developers in your area and advise you on how to work with your local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop housing for refugees.

Our organization is interested in using Refugee Housing Program materials for other programs such as ESL classes. Can we do this? Can we use the graphics for other purposes?

We strongly encourage everyone to creatively adapt and interact with the Refugee Housing Program’s materials as long as the material and copyright notice remain intact. We are always interested in hearing about alternative uses for our materials. For instance, Spring Institue has created a number of sample ESL lesson plans based on the “Welcome to Your New Home” booklets. If you are interested in the reformatting or revision of publications for your programming, please contact us to work with you.