Refugee Resettlement

The Institute welcomes refugees to the Twin Cities and assists in the transition process to their new community. In 2015, the Institute resettled 465 refugees from thirteen countries of origin: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The majority of refugees fled from Burma and Somalia. Refugees escape war and persecution in their home countries only to spend an average of 17 years in refugee camps before resettling in a new country.

Starting over in a new community is a challenge.  Starting over in a new country is often overwhelming. The challenges of learning a new language and entering a new culture, not to mention adjusting to Minnesota’s winter, are immense. Many refugees have fled from warm climates in Africa and Asia, so they are not prepared for Minnesota winters. Through dedicated staff, passionate volunteers, and a supportive community, we provide the basic necessities of life and critical services to assist New Americans in making a strong start to a new life.

Two Karen refugees walking at MSP airportRefugee resettlement staff provide an array of services including:

  • Greeting newly arriving refugees at the Minneapolis/Saint Paul airport
  • Finding and furnishing housing prior to refugee arrivals
  • Enrolling refugee children in school
  • Connecting adults with ESL classes and employment counseling services
  • Applying for social security cards, selective service, and public benefits
  • Shopping for groceries and household items
  • Accessing medical care
  • Assisting with the use of public transportation
  • Providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our new community members

All refugees resettled by the Institute:

  • are authorized to work in the United States
  • have received security clearance by the FBI and State Department
  • are medically screened by healthcare professionals before arriving in the United States and again upon arrival

Staff Contact
Micaela Schuneman, Director of Refugee Services
651-647-0191 x 338