Families being resettled in Cleveland have experienced indescribable horror, yet are excited to move past trauma and begin a new life as contributing members of the city. USCRI Cleveland is one of three local agencies that assists refugees with finding housing, employment, medical care and temporary public assistance.
Refugees receive between $975 and $1,125 per month for the first several months they are here, and that money must be used for rent, daily living expenses, and to repay the plane ticket by which they arrived in the United States. Refugees in Cleveland are eager to begin working and using their unique skills and talents. For the most part, 85% of refugees find employment within their first six months in Cleveland and are able to move off of welfare.
“The work ethic in Syrian culture is really remarkable,” said immigration attorney Nadeen Aljijakli. “The Syrian refugee families that I’ve met don’t want to be a burden on anybody. It’s important to them to become independent as quickly as possible.”
Refugee resettlement in Cleveland is mutually beneficial. “For a city like Cleveland that has a declining population, I really think it’s a plus to have all these newcomers, refugees or others, coming into the city. It helps all of us,” said Karin Wishner, director of USCRI Cleveland.
The Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland estimated that for every $1 invested in resettlement in the city, there was a $10 return to the local economy, resulting in an additional $48 million in the year 2012. Many residents of Cleveland are thankful for incoming refugees that contribute in such positive ways to their city.
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