When refugees are resettled to the United States, they receive 90 days of assistance from resettlement agencies to help them integrate into their new communities. But once this initial three-month period is over, refugees are encouraged to start their own path to self-sufficiency. While there are many local services available that provide ongoing support to refugees while they settle in America, in many cases refugees are not familiar with them and don’t know how to ask for help.
To respond to this need, the Hive – USA for UNHCR’s innovation team – created a tool that helps connect resettled refugees with local services and vital resources available in their communities – such as medical and mental healthcare, language learning classes, skills training and educational opportunities.
Working in collaboration with the Opportunity Project – an initiative of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Open Innovation Labs that seeks to address national challenges using federal open data – the Hive gathered insights from resettled refugees and nonprofits across the country to design the new tool.
Their insights revealed the importance of including images, symbols and language agnostic elements to make services more accessible for refugees. The new tool seeks to empower refugees to successfully integrate into their new communities and will be especially relevant as the national resettlement admissions program rebuilds in the coming years.