IMPACT

Refugees Relocated To United States Struggle With Homelessness

09/13/2010 12:51 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Of the 80,000 refugees from war-torn areas around the world that will be resettled in the United States this year, many may face homelessness in their new homeland, The Seattle Times reports.

Recently relocated families with poor English or few marketable job skills are facing the same or worse problems finding employment as Americans in the country's economic slump. As their federal assistance ends, families who have newly immigrated are facing homelessness and an inexplicable homeless-support system.

"We are bringing people from refugee camps to get a new start in the U.S. only to see them Dumpster-diving somewhere," said Tom Medina, who heads the state's office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance.

Just like their American counterparts, The Seattle Times explains, homeless refugee families are hard to number because they often bounce from friends' houses to hotels and other temporary places to stay rather than living on the streets.

State Department Officials told The Seattle Times that refugees are warned about the difficulties ahead in their new country.

But many, like the mother of a Somali family of 10 who lived in a refugee camp of 13 years, decide to pursue an American life despite the warnings.

"They told us there was a lack of jobs and it will not be like we think -- but better than what we have now -- and that there would be benefits if we have no job,"
said the woman, dressed in traditional Muslim wear and speaking through a translator..."I knew it would be better here," she said. "It had to be."

After they arrived to the United States, this woman's family became homeless.

To read the full story, visit The Seattle Times.

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