The Administration for Children and Families announced the creation of a first-ever resource center to support the resettlement of LGBT refugees. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), a division of ACF, has awarded a $250,000 contract to the Heartland Alliance of Chicago to create this training and technical assistance center, according to a press release from the alliance.
"The Obama administration has issued a clear mandate that comprehensive human rights include the elimination of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity," said ACF Acting Assistant Secretary David A. Hansell. "Addressing the protection and resettlement challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) refugees is a priority for ACF and ORR, and we are pleased to bring on Heartland Alliance as a partner to support this key initiative."
The focus of this initiative will be to provide:
Resource and capacity development in key resettlement locations;
Sensitivity training to network staff, including overview of key issue regarding newly arriving LGBT refugees;
Technical assistance in service delivery; and
Development of best practices and orientation materials for refugee service providers across the country.
"As many of these refugees left their homelands specifically because of persecution related to their LGBT status, it is particularly incumbent on us to provide a safe and welcoming environment," Hansell added.
"The current resettlement network has limited understanding of the LGBT community," said ORR Director Eskinder Negash. "In addition, no information exists in the context of available resource materials specifically for LGBT refugees. The need for these services is critical to ensure their successful resettlement in the U.S.
"Heartland Alliance has taken the lead in promoting education, awareness and resources in support to resettlement for LGBT refugees, and has developed a great deal of expertise in this area," said Negash. "Furthermore, their focus on treatment of survivors of torture has well positioned Heartland to develop materials and resources that will be adapted to the specific needs of the LGBT refugee population."
For more information on ORR, visit www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr.