Expanding Asset Building Services in Refugee Communities
Refugees make terrific IDA participants. Historically, IDA programs targeting refugees, sponsored primarily by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), have shown very high demand, over 95% asset purchase completions and sustained savings behaviors.
The Offices of Refugee Resettlement and Community Services have launched a project to increase refugee participation in mainstream AFI IDA programs. This will help meet the high demand of refugees wanting to participate in IDAs. It will also enable refugees to achieve their dreams of asset attainment. Lastly, it will help AFI grantees serve more diverse participant populations and use all of their grant monies in their communities.
Four organizations selected by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and funded by the Office of Community Services are carrying out an asset-building project called Expanding Assets Building Services (EABS). This project will allow the AFI Resource Center to provide training and technical assistance to AFI grantees wanting to serve refugee IDA participants. The group working with the AFI Resource Center comprises: Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED), and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
ECDC’s Enterprise Development Group has operated an IDA program since 2001 with a majority of funding from ORR’s IDA program. ECDC also receive funds from the state of Virginia and a foundation for its IDA work, and has served between 900 and 1,000 clients, who have saved over $1.35 million and received over $2.46 million in matching funds.
The IRC Phoenix's Center for Financial Opportunity comprises refugee economic development programs in IDAs, Microenterprise, Financial Education, Tax Preparation, Farm and Food Security Programs. These programs have been cited as best practices by Refugee Works and have won several awards.
ISED has 15 years experience in the IDA field, providing technical assistance, research, financial literacy curricula, and data collection and reporting support. ISED staff has been recognized for its expertise in working with foreign-born populations – refugees and immigrants.
SEARAC is a national organization with a history of serving Southeast Asian refugees through partnerships with local communities through the exchange of knowledge, expertise, experience, and resources. In the past ten years, SEARAC has awarded more than one million dollars in capacity building funding and has provided group workshops and trainings to more than three hundred refugee-led organizations.
The goals of the EABS project are to:
Trainings and Technical Assistance will include: