Tampa Bay is home to the second largest population of refugees in Florida. This population faces numerous obstacles in their resettlement process. Refugees are expected to learn English and secure housing and employment in less than 90 days, in addition to adjusting to a foreign culture. Many of these refugees are also dealing with traumatic mental and physical health issues resultant from the circumstances they have fled in their home countries.
The boom in the housing market and other recent events have led to refugees being kicked out of their apartments and having issues securing housing. This presents a number of issues, one being the financial strain caused by refugees being forced to live in hotels until they can find alternate housing. Staying in a hotel quickly eats away at what little funds they have.
PCPC’s Refugee Ministry has set up a Refugee Housing Relief Fund to help refugees in crisis situations. The PCPC Refugee Ministry team was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Presbytery of Tampa Bay to assist with the Refugee Housing Relief. We will work with Lutheran Services to identify those most in need, and make payments directly to landlords and/or utility companies. By helping the refugee population stay out of debt and move towards self-sufficiency, we hope to serve and partner with those neighbors in need among us. Your PCPC team is now hard at work using these funds to care for this vulnerable population in Hillsborough County and will have a full report in October.