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Annual ORR Report to Congress - 2005: Public/Private Partnerships

Published: May 6, 2014

Public/Private Partnerships

In March 2000, ORR published a final rule which amended the requirements governing refugee cash assistance. The final rule offered States flexibility and choice in how refugee cash assistance and services could be delivered to refugees not eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

States have the option of entering into a partnership (grant or contract) with local resettlement agencies to administer the cash assistance program through a public/private refugee cash assistance (RCA) program. The partnerships facilitate the successful resettlement of refugees by integrating cash assistance with resettlement services and ongoing case management. Through these public/private RCA programs, States are permitted to include employment incentives that support the refugee program’s goal of family self-sufficiency and social adjustment in the shortest possible time after arrival. To be eligible for the public/private RCA program, a refugee must meet the income eligibility standard jointly established by the State and local resettlement agencies in the State.

The goal of the Public/Private Partnership is to promote more effective and better quality resettlement services through linkage between the initial placement of refugees and refugee cash assistance program.

Six states have been approved by ORR to operate Public/Private Partnerships: Maryland, Texas, Oregon, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Minnesota. States and local resettlement agencies are encouraged to look at different approaches and to be creative in designing a program that will help refugees to establish a sound economic foundation during the eight-month RCA period.

Wilson/Fish Alternative Program
 

The Wilson/Fish amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act, contained in the FY 1985 Contin­uing Resolution on Appropriations, directed the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop alternatives to the regular State-administered program for the purpose of:

  • Increasing refugee self-sufficiency,
  • Avoiding welfare dependency, and
  • Increasing coordination among service providers and resettlement agencies.

The Wilson/Fish authority allows projects to establish or maintain a refugee program in a State where the State is not participating in the refugee program or is withdrawing from all or a portion of the program. These projects are considered under Category 1 in the Wilson/Fish announcement.

The Wilson/Fish authority also provides public or private non-profit agencies the opportunity to develop new approaches for the provision of cash and medical assistance, social services, and case management. These projects are considered under Category 2 in the Wilson/Fish announcement.

No additional funding is appropriated for Wilson/Fish projects; funds are drawn from regular cash and medical assistance grants and social services formula allocations. Wilson/Fish alternative projects typically contain several of the following elements:

  • Creation of a “front-loaded” service system which provides i­ntensive services to refugees in the early months after arrival with an emphasis on early employment.
  • Integration of case management, cash assistance, and employment services generally under a single private agency that is equipped to work with refugees.
  • Innovative strategies for the provision of cash assistance, through incentives, bonuses and income disregards which are tied directly to the achievement of employment goals outlined in the client self-sufficiency plan.

Wilson/Fish Grantees

State/County Grantee RCA for TANF- Types RMA funds to WF grantee Social Services funds to WF grantee
Alabama - Catholic Social Services of Mobile (Cat. 1)
No
Yes
Yes
Alaska – Catholic Social Services (Cat. 1)
No
Yes
Yes
Colorado Department of Human Services (Cat. 2)
Yes
No
Yes
Kentucky - Catholic Charities of Louisville (Cat. 1)
No
Yes
Yes
Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants (Cat. 2)
No
No
Yes
Nevada - Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (Cat. 1)
No
Yes
Yes
North Dakota Department of Human Services (Cat. 2)
Yes
No
Yes
San Diego - Catholic Charities (Cat. 2)
Yes
No
Yes
South Dakota - LSS of South Dakota (Cat. 1)
Yes
No
Yes
Vermont - USCRI (Cat. 2)
Yes
No
No
Idaho - Mountain States Group (Cat. 1)
Yes
No
Yes

In FY 2005, Wilson/Fish projects were operated by private non-profit agencies in Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, Nevada, South Dakota, Vermont, and San Diego County, California. In addition, there were three Wilson/Fish projects, ( Colorado, Massachusetts, and North Dakota) that were publicly administered.

As in past years, Wilson/Fish program managers worked closely with ORR staff to establish outcome goal plans for their programs. The program goals established for FY 2005 are based on the program measures adopted for the State-administered program. For an explanation of each program measure and the outcomes for each project, see the section entitled “Partnerships to Improve Employment and Self-Sufficiency Outcomes,” beginning on page 17.

Voluntary Agency Matching Grant Program

Calendar Year (CY) 2005 marked the 26th anniversary of the Voluntary Agency Matching Grant program. In those twenty-six years, more than 2.5 million refugees have come to this country and nearly 585,000 clients (about 22 percent of all refugees) were served through the Matching Grant (MG) program. In FY 2005, refugee arrivals continued to rebound significantly post- 9/11 lows to 53,813 refugees. With no increase in Matching Grant funding, many agencies exhausted their enrollment slots well before the end of the calendar year. ORR provided funding to the nine Voluntary Agencies (Volags) to serve 25,000 clients. Several Volags overenrolled resulting in a total of 25,447 refugees, Cuban/Haitian Entrants, asylees and victims of trafficking participating in the Matching Grant program. These 25,447 clients were served by 241 affiliate sites of the nine voluntary agencies, in 123 cities in 42 States. The program was successful in achieving self-sufficiency within six months of arrival for 81 percent of all clients enrolled in the program. 

The Matching Grant program, funded by Congress since 1979, provides an alternative approach to State-administered resettlement assistance. The program’s goal is to help refugees attain self-sufficiency within four to six months after arrival, without access to public cash assistance. Participating agencies agree to match the ORR grant with cash and in-kind contributions; at least twenty percent of their match must be in cash. The Agency must match at least $1,000 (in either cash or in-kind contributions) for each $2,000 in Federal funds per enrollment.

The Matching Grant program is characterized by a strong emphasis on early employment and intensive services during the first six months after arrival. ORR requires participating agencies to provide maintenance (cash, food and housing) for a minimum of the first four months and intensive case management and employment services through the first six months. Additional services, such as English language training and medical assistance, may be provided in-house or arranged through referral to other programs. Refugees in the Matching Grant program may use publicly funded medical assistance.

The Matching Grant Voluntary Agencies work with ORR staff to establish goal plans to measure continuous improvement in client outcomes. Because the program emphasizes family self-sufficiency (independence from cash assistance), goal plans measure the proportion of cases that are self-sufficient at four months after arrival in the U.S. and self-sufficiency retention two months later. Clients not self-sufficient at four months may continue in the program as long as they do not access public cash assistance. Goal plans establish self-sufficiency and retention goals for individual participants as well as case totals. Goals are also established for individual refugees in terms of job placements, wages, and health benefits. A change in the reporting requirements and goal plans was initiated in 2004. Programs will be evaluated based on the agencies’ abilities to assist all Matching Grant clients to become self-sufficient by the sixth month. The funding for the program is awarded based on the relative performance of individual agencies to the performance of all agencies for the respective reporting period. Summaries of the progress reports of the nine participating agencies follow, with all data reported covering the calendar year 2005.1

Church World Service (CWS) received $3,350,000 to enroll 1,675 refugees in 31 sites (22 main offices and 9 sub-offices).  Another 500 eligible non-refugee clients could not be served by the Matching Grant Program due to a shortage in the number of available slots. The program’s services and support ultimately resulted in self-sufficiency for 88.2 percent of all enrolled cases and 87.5 percent of all enrolled individuals. The improved outcomes are due primarily to ongoing efforts to diversify employer bases and market Matching Grant clients. These efforts have been furthered by economic rebounds and recovering job markets.

CWS/IRP affiliates served an expanded range of populations in the CY 2005 caseload, which was comprised of 42 different nationalities and/or ethnic groups. The five largest groups served (in order of size) were Cubans, Meskhetian Turks, Somalis, Liberians, and Ethiopians. New populations included Azerbaijani, Bhutanese, Kazakhstani, Meskhetian Turk, Mexican, Nepalese, Nigerien, and Uzbekistani refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking.

CWS

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

746

1,675

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

621

1.293

79%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

663

1,463

88%

Entered Employment

 

771

83%

Avg. Hourly Wage

 

$7.54

 

Health Benefits

 

325

46%

Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) received $1,864,000 to serve 913 refugees in the Matching Grant program. In CY 2005, EMM enrolled 947 clients into the Matching Grant program through 24 of its affiliate sites. These sites achieved an overall self-sufficiency outcome of 81 percent at the 120 th day and 90 percent at the 180 th day for all cases enrolled, marking a 10 and 6 percent increase respectively at these benchmarks. Several EMM sites had filled all their MG slots by the end of the third quarter, so many additional clients could not be taken on despite demand. EMM was able to enroll 34 clients and cover the costs with additional contributions from local churches. EMM’s Matching Grant sites continued to serve refugees such as the Somali Bantu and welcomed new resettlement groups such as the Meskhetian Turks.

EMM

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

418

947

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

283

723

81%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

319

759

88%

Entered Employment

 

415

84%

Avg. Hourly

Wage

 

$7.74

 

Health Benefits

 

216

58 %

Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) received $1,172,000 in CY 2005 to serve 586 Matching Grant clients in eleven sites ECDC’s Matching Grant Program enrolled clients from 25 countries during CY 2005 of which 407 (69 percent) were from Africa and 179 (31 percent) were from other regions of the world. Among them were 482 refugees, 103 asylees, and 1 victim of trafficking. Houston, Chicago and Phoenix were the largest sites. The Houston site was especially effective in providing relief services to displaced refugees as a result of hurricane Katrina. They resettled 310 from the former Soviet Union, Africa, the Near East, Cuba, and Southeast Asia. This total was far less than the 400 arrivals expected, because new refugee arrivals were diverted from Houston following Hurricane Katrina.

ECDC

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

292

586

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

188

363

70%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

199

372

78%

Entered Employment

 

226

61%

Avg. Hourly

Wage

 

$8.08

 

Health Benefits

 

167

77%

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) received $2,208,000 to support activities in CY 2004 to serve 1,104 clients. A total of 28 communities participated in the HIAS Matching Grant Program during CY 2005, as compared to 38 in CY 2004 and 51 in CY 2003. Of the total this year, 5 communities received no Matching Grant eligible arrivals and several have since been dropped as HIAS affiliates and will no longer be participating in the Matching Grant Program. HIAS ultimately served 1,136 clients in the Matching Grant program covering the additional expenses with agency funds and actually increased the number served with a smaller network of affiliates. For the third year in a row, HIAS continued to improve its performance during CY 2005 with 58.7% of cases and 57.4 percent of individuals reported as self-sufficient at the end of 120 days.

HIAS

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

557

1,136

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

298

577

57%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

259

585

56%

Entered Employment

 

367

52%

Avg. Hourly Wage

 

$ 8.67

 

Health Benefits

 

159

61%

International Rescue Committee (IRC) received a grant award of $6,202,000 to enroll 3,101 clients at its 16 regional offices. By the end of the year, 3,186 new arrivals were enrolled in the program. More than 40 ethnicities were represented in the IRC caseload. The largest ethnicities were from Cuba, Somalia, Liberia, and Sudan. IRC headquarters created an e-Source newsletter for IRC resource developers to exchange ideas, share resources and learn from each others experiences. Through these efforts, IRC continued to grow its volunteer and mentor programs offering clients English language tutoring, household management, employment preparation, and financial literacy to name a few.

IRC

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

1,279

3,186

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

1,020

2,338

78%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

988

2,283

79%

Entered Employment

 

1,308

72%

Avg. Hourly

Wage

 

$7.76

 

Health Benefits

 

673

58%

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). In CY 2005, the LIRS network served 3,620 clients in the Matching Grant Program and managed to improve upon already strong employment outcomes despite many challenges, including serving a diverse caseload with multiple barriers to self-sufficiency in a highly competitive job market. 77 percent of clients enrolled in the program achieved self-sufficiency within 120 days and 83 percent achieved the same goal within 180 days. Many partner agencies transferred the skills and knowledge they had built in the MG program to assist people displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Existing networks of congregations and volunteers mobilized quickly to respond to the needs of evacuees.

LIRS

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

1,601

3,620

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

1,180

2,695

78%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

1,313

2,920

83%

Entered Employment

 

1,501

76%

Avg. Hourly Wage

 

$8.10

 

Health Benefits

 

909

64%

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) received $14,834,000 million to serve 7,417 clients. The USCCB/MRS Matching Grant program ultimately enrolled and served 7,779 clients through 65 diocesan Matching Grant program sites comprising more than 110 different nationalities and ethnic groups with 76 percent of clients becoming self-sufficient. USCCB was again able to serve some hundreds of additional clients beyond those provided for by the ORR grant with agency resources, but even this was not sufficient to close the gap between the demand for and availability of services. Perhaps the most conspicuous accomplishments of the program during the year, despite the fact that they involved less than two dozen Matching Grant clients, was the evacuation, relocation, and continued provision of services to clients affected by Hurricane Katrina. At that time the disaster struck there were seven families comprising 28 persons who were receiving or had just completed Matching Grant services. Through excellent work under very difficult conditions by New Orleans staff and other diocesan Matching Grant programs, none of these families suffered a disruption of assistance and services; they went on to destinations such as Dallas, Galveston-Houston, Memphis, and Syracuse where their services were continued and completed as needed, even when this meant restarting Matching Grant services from scratch.

USCCB

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

3,325

7,690

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

2,056

4,903

78%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

2,092

4,685

76%

Entered Employment

 

2,666

68%

Avg. Hourly Wage

 

$8.22

 

Health Benefits

 

1,347

56%

U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (formerly the Immigration and Refugee

Services of America or IRSA) received $10,194,000 for the enrollment of 5,097 refugees at twenty sites. USCRI served clients from 65 different ethnic groups. Miami continues to be the largest program, enrolling 2,590 clients. More than 45 percent of the caseload consisted of Cuban/Haitian entrants, 15 percent were asylees and 41 percent were refugees. At the 180 th day mark, 88 percent of the cases were self-sufficient earning on average $7.59 with 49 percent of jobs having health benefits available.

USCRI

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

2,730

5,097

82%

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

2,063

3,790

82%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

2,288

4,028

88%

Entered Employment

 

2,545

86%

Avg. Hourly Wage

 

$ 7.50

 

Health Benefits

 

1,166

49%

World Relief Corporation

World Relief (WR) received $2,966,000 to resettle 1,483 refugees in its ten affiliate sites. WR enrolled 1,510 clients. 80 percent of clients reaching 180 days were self-sufficient. Eleven affiliates participated in the program. The largest ethnic groups served were refugees from Africa and the Former Soviet Union.

WR

Cases

Individ.

Percent.

Enrolled

618

1,510

 

Self-Sufficient (120 days)

430

1,036

72%

Self-Sufficiency (180)

423

949

94%

Overall Self-Suff. (180)

481

1,149

80%

Entered Employment

 

571

71%

Avg. Hourly Wage

 

$7.89

 

Health Benefits

 

449

83%

[1]The attached tables represent Matching Grant clients that have completed the respective point in their service period, and not the outcomes for all clients that were enrolled in the calendar year.  For example, “enrollments” is for the total number of enrollments for the calendar year; while outcomes for “self-sufficient at 120-days” counts clients that were enrolled during the period from Sept. 2003 through August 2004 and were self-sufficient at 120 days.