NEW HAVEN, CT — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services has been awarded a $70,600 grant from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) for the agency’s “A New Haven for Refugees” program. The goal of the program is to prevent homelessness among newly-arrived refugees.
“This is the largest single grant by a private funder that IRIS has ever received,” according to IRIS’s Executive Director Chris George, “and it comes at a time of our client’s greatest need for housing support—combination bad economy and high-need. The CHEFA grant will make it possible for IRIS. IRIS is so grateful for CHEFA’s support, for providing this lifeline to refugees who are newly arrived in our communities. This grant will ensure that they will be able to remain.”
The grant, awarded in April, was presented by Jeannette Weldon, CHEFA Managing Director and Chief Credit Officer, on the occasion of a visit by an official from the US State DepartmentThe decision was made in March by an internal grant review committee at CHEFA. David Wasch, Legislative Liaison and ECE Program Specialist, who also reviewed IRIS’ proposal, said that CHEFA staff “had their eyes opened” to Connecticut population they weren’t aware of before.
Founded in 1982, New Horizons Village is a 68-unit apartment complex on Bliss Road in Unionville designed for adults with severe physical disabilities. The facility provides residents with access to transportation, personal care attendants and health services.
CHEFA is a quasi-state agency providing access to the tax-exempt bond market for colleges and universities, hospitals, independent schools, early childhood education providers and other qualified non-profit entities. It does not receive any state financial support or taxpayer funds for its operations.
New Haven, CT – A record crowd of over 500 people – including Senator Blumenthal -- plan to start their Super Bowl festivities with a brisk run or walk in East Rock Park on Sunday February 6th in the 4th annual O, R & L Run for Refugees, raising awareness and support for refugees who have settled in Connecticut.
“The work of IRIS is a testament to the foundation of this country – that this can be a home for all people and a safe haven for those in need,” said Blumenthal. “I am proud and honored to be their partner in this mission of providing support for refugees and immigrants that have chosen to make a life in Connecticut.”
IRIS—Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services—sponsors the event every year. This year’s race field includes refugees from all over the world. The 5K (3.1 miles) Run / Walk begins at 10:00 AM at New Haven’s Wilbur Cross High School (181 Mitchell Drive).
“Last year’s race was a huge success. It’s fun for the entire family, whether running, walking or cheering on the participants,” said Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS.
“And this year, with all the snow we’ve had, people are eager go outside and enjoy the weather, which promises to be sunny and 38 degrees.”
“The Run for Refugees—Connecticut’s most international road race—offers a great chance to do something healthy for yourself and, at the same time, helpful to others,” George said. Each year the race has grown by 20%, this year we’re on track to have over 500 runners.
On April 20, 2010, IRIS joined with other members of the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (CIRC) to celebrate the 13th Annual CT Immigrant Day at the State Capitol. CT Immigrant Day honored fourteen immigrants who have received US citizenship for their contributions to the community. Awards were presented by Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of the State; Nancy Wyman, State Comptroller; and other elected officials.
CT Immigrant Day also honored the Pediatric and Adult Refugee Clinics of the Yale-New Haven Hospital Primary Care Center with the Myra M. Oliver Award. The Myra M. Oliver Award is given to those who work beyond the call of duty to help refugees and immigrants, in memory of her lifetime of leadership and service.
Six years ago the Primary Care Center responded to the need to offer high quality, culturally- and linguistically-appropriate primary care medical services to refugees who have recently arrived in CT. In consultation with IRIS, medical residents took the initiative to set up designated appointment times to meet the medical needs of this unique population. They called it a “Refugee Clinic.” These residents worked diligently to develop this innovative idea into a sustained reality. Each year, the doctors and nurses of the Refugee Clinics provide exceptional care to over 100 adult patients and 40 children. Many of these clinicians graciously volunteer their time to meet the medical and mental health needs of IRIS’s refugee clients.
The Myra M. Oliver Award was presented to five representatives from the Refugee Clinics. IRIS believes that these Refugee Clinics are a remarkable model in the field of refugee medicine, and joins with CIRC in thanking the Yale-New Haven Hospital Primary Care Center and these outstanding practitioners for their vision in making the clinics happen, their dedication to seeking continuous improvements, and their compassionate care for new Americans.