Community Sponsorship Hub celebrates the Welcome Corps, new private sponsorship program launched by U.S. Department of State
NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of State today announced the launch of the Welcome Corps, a highly anticipated private sponsorship program, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH) will lead a consortium in the design and implementation of the Welcome Corps. The consortium includes six leading organizations with expertise in refugee resettlement, protection and welcome: Church World Service, CSH, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), International Rescue Committee (IRC), IRIS – Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services and Welcome.US.
More than 200 organizations voiced their support for the launch of the program, which pairs everyday Americans with refugees referred through the United States Refugee Admission Program (USRAP). The Welcome Corps leverages existing U.S. refugee resettlement vetting processes with a new service opportunity for everyday Americans to take a direct role in refugee resettlement—with ongoing support from welcoming experts.
“When Americans welcome, communities flourish,” said Sarah Krause, CSH executive director and co-founder. “Newly arriving refugees have been forced to flee, leaving behind their communities and livelihoods, with some in search of a safe place to call home for years. Whether you are a business owner, teacher, stay-at-home parent, nurse, or store clerk, the Welcome Corps equips you with the resources you need to work together and share knowledge of your community with refugees as they adapt to life in America.”
Qualifying groups of five or more form Private Sponsor Groups (PSGs) to welcome refugees and provide support during the refugee newcomers’ first 90 days in the United States. Group members work together to enroll children in school, help adults access employment services, and introduce refugee families to their new communities. To prepare for this welcome, sponsor groups must raise the resources necessary to provide for a refugee family’s initial housing and other essential needs. The Sponsor Fund, managed by CSH and grown with donations from the general public, can support groups, including diaspora, local faith communities, neighborhood groups, and others, in meeting these costs, ensuring they have the resources they need to welcome.
The Welcome Corps builds on previous successes in public-private partnerships to expand resettlement capacity and diversify a growing movement of welcome. Community organizations and institutions may also apply to participate in the Welcome Corps as Private Sponsor Organizations (PSOs) to mobilize, support, and oversee PSGs. These organizations will serve as guides on local and regional resources, including how to access community services and form cultural connections.
“The Welcome Corps is the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades. It is designed to strengthen and expand the capacity of the USRAP by harnessing the energy and talents of Americans from all walks of life desiring to serve as private sponsors—ranging from members of faith and civic groups, veterans, diaspora communities, businesses, colleges and universities, and more,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement earlier Thursday.
“The Welcome Corps creates new opportunities for Americans to take on the deeply rewarding and meaningful act of welcome. In addition to ensuring refugees are met with the support and resources to succeed in the United States, private sponsorship strengthens host communities as sponsors work together and build new relationships with refugees and each other,” said Krause.
Those interested in sponsoring through the Welcome Corps can access application resources and sign up for upcoming informational sessions and email updates at https://welcomecorps.org.
For more information about the Welcome Corps, visit https://welcomecorps.org.
For more information about the Community Sponsorship Hub, visit communitysponsorshiphub.org.
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About Community Sponsorship Hub
The Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH) is the first organization in the United States solely dedicated to growing community sponsorship. We make it easier for communities to welcome refugees and other displaced people. We do this by generating and advancing bold, smart policies that allow communities to sponsor, and by connecting community partners at the national and local levels with the knowledge and financial resources they need to ensure that sponsors and those they are welcoming are set up for success. CSH is proud to lead the Welcome Corps, the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in the four decades, and its consortium of organizations advancing private sponsorship in the United States. Founded in 2021 to grow the role of local communities in the protection and welcome of forcibly displaced people, CSH previously partnered with the State Department to design and implement the Sponsor Circle Program (SCP) for Afghans, an emergency response initiative to welcome Afghan allies as they were evacuated from Afghanistan.