The Idaho Office for Refugees and our resettlement partners hosted a Community Coordination Meeting on May 10 to connect, share updates, and hear feedback and questions.
These gatherings happen quarterly and are open to the public. Next meeting:
Read on for a recap of our May updates.
An estimated 200 Ukrainians displaced by the war have arrived in Idaho, according to Tina Polishchuk with the Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Immigrants and Refugees.
The alliance, a nonprofit, formed earlier this year to support these families and individuals with housing, interpretation, and guidance in areas such as school enrollment and health care. For many of the volunteers, this work is personal, said Tina, whose own family fled the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s. They arrived to a fully furnished home thanks to the help of sponsors, and now Tina feels it’s her turn to pay in forward, she said.
Many of the new arrivals have come through the humanitarian parole process, which is separate from the refugee resettlement program. We anticipate that Congress may approve refugee benefits for these arrivals in the coming weeks or months.
“We’re trying to fill that gap by leveraging the good will of the Treasure Valley,” Tina said. “We are asking people to bring their time, their talent and their treasure.”
Later this month the Idaho Alliance will open a Ukraine Welcome Center in Nampa, with space provided by the Boise Rescue Mission in the former Lighthouse Rescue Mission. The center will include eight small studio apartments. The governor, Nampa mayor and other dignitaries visited the center on Thursday, May 12.
If you would like to donate or volunteer, please contact the Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Immigrants & Refugees:
The Idaho Office for Refugees also has a resource page on Ukraine needs and ways to help.
RALLY AT THE CAPITOL
The Idaho Ukrainian Lions Club is holding a rally to show solidarity with Ukraine starting between 11 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and recent arrivals from Ukraine are scheduled to speak.
Boise is home to two resettlement agencies, which welcome refugee arrivals at the airport and help them get established during their first few months.
The agencies collectively will welcome an estimated 1,000 men, women and children this year.
Creative innovations are happening in the housing realm. Neighbors United has launched House Your Neighbor, which develops housing opportunities that support community members from refugee backgrounds and those in need of low-cost housing in the Treasure Valley.
Everyone from developers to landowners to residents with additional rental space or interest in cosigning a rental lease are invited to learn more at houseyourneighbor.org
Another great example of collaboration is the IRC has opened a temporary housing facility, primarily serving as a landing place for new arrivals until they are able to get established in a house or apartment.
The facility is named Monarch Landing in honor of the migratory pattern of the Idaho state butterfly and the long journey refugees make to get in Idaho. Here, families and individuals can find safety, shelter, and repose as they work to build a new life in Idaho before finding long-term homes.
Idaho Office for Refugees and resettlement agency partners are contracting with immigration attorneys to provide free, expert assistance to Afghan arrivals as they apply for permanent legal status. Here are resources in English, Dari, and Pashto.
UPDATES & EVENTS:
The REACH summer youth program will run every Tuesday and Thursday, 12-3 p.m., from June 7 to Aug. 11. The free program in Boise is geared toward youth from refugee backgrounds who are in middle school and older, as well as their younger siblings. Activities include games, art projects, reading, lunch, and field trips, organized by the Idaho Office for Refugees, Glocal Community Partnerships and other community partners. Volunteers welcome! For more information please contact Chantale Niyonkuru, youth program specialist at IOR.
Community-Supported Agriculture: There’s still time to sign up for a CSA subscription with Global Gardens to support a local farmer from a refugee background and receive a box of produce each week during the growing season. Contact Food Hub Manager Karyn Levin.
The Restoring Family Links program by the Red Cross allows people here in Idaho to send a message and digital photos to loved ones back in the refugee camp or their home country. Learn more here. Contact Sheila Warner for more information and for presentations.
World Refugee Day will be celebrated Saturday, June 18, on the Grove Plaza.
World Village Festival is June 24-26 at Cecil D. Andrus Park in Boise. Performances, music, food. Organized by Global Lounge.
Global Lounge Markets start in June on Wednesdays and Saturdays, featuring food and artisans. Check it out at the Global Lounge Commons, 3085 N. Cole Rd Suite 201, Boise) next to Idaho Capitol Asian Market and the offices of the Idaho Museum of International Diaspora.
Follow the Idaho Office for Refugees community calendar and join our newsletter to stay connected.
Author: Holly Beech
Idaho Office for Refugees Communications Manager