Rising housing costs in Tampa Bay impacting refugee programs


Rising housing costs in Tampa Bay impacting refugee programs

For interviews and b-roll, contact:
Hana Cowart, Communications Manager
Hana.Cowart@gcjfcs.org, 727-503-7856

Families from War-Torn Countries May Lose Housing, One Local Refugee Program Makes a Plea for Assistance

Gulf Coast JFCS is making an urgent appeal for financial assistance and other resources to support refugee families and individuals who have been resettled in the region because of war and conflict in their home countries such as Ukraine and Afghanistan.

“Gulf Coast JFCS remains committed to assisting refugees fleeing war and conflict in their home countries. As a result of the rising costs of housing in the Tampa Bay region, our Refugee Assistance Program has reached a tipping point to be able to continue supporting these families who have already been through such heartache,” noted Dr. Sandra Braham, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Coast Jewish JFCS.

Without additional resources, the organization cannot continue to fund temporary housing and other living expenses to help these families and individuals from war-torn regions rebuild their lives.

Gulf Coast JFCS Refugee Services is in need of:

  • Financial assistance to keep families housed
  • Temporary, free or low-cost housing options
  • Employers seeking to hire refugee individuals who are authorized to work, pending receipt of physical work documents
  • Donations to supply household furnishings to help refugees establish their apartments beyond temporary, emergency housing
  • Donations to support Kosher and Halal food options for refugee families.

Donations can be made online at Refugee Assistance Fund – Gulf Coast JFCS or inquiries by email to GulfCoastinfo@gcjfcs.org

“In the past two years, Gulf Coast JFCS has assisted more than 3,000 individuals and families to rebuild their lives and futures in the Tampa Bay area,” said Elke Cumming, Senior Vice President overseeing Gulf Coast JFCS refugee assistance programs.  “However, limited funding challenges these new beginnings. Community support will assure our new neighbors can fully and sustainably establish vibrant futures.”

More Information about Refugee Resettlement

Refugees resettled through the federal Refugee Resettlement and Match Grant program are entitled to $3,125 per person, the total allocated for food, housing, and other emergency needs. Refugees are then expected to be self-sufficient within 90 days.

And, though refugees, by their status, are eligible to work from the first day they set foot on US soil, it takes time for their physical work documents to be processed. Though a work permit is not required, many employers are hesitant to employ refugees without a work permit because of fear of violating recently passed Florida laws that prohibit the employment of “undocumented immigrants,” who hold a different status than refugees.  Without work, refugees are reliant on the limited resources provided to nonprofit agencies on their behalf.

ABOUT GULF COAST JFCS: Protecting the vulnerable, strengthening families, and empowering individuals throughout the state of Florida since 1974, Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services (Gulf Coast JFCS) is a Clearwater-based 501(c)3 organization supporting more than 30,000 diverse individuals and families of all backgrounds annually through its numerous programs across Greater Tampa Bay and beyond.  Learn more about Gulf Coast JFCS at www.gulfcoastjfcs.org.

Rising housing costs in Tampa Bay impacting refugee programs