Catholic Charities ILSP: Legal Assistance to Immigrant Victims of Violence

La ley de inmigración puede ayudar a sobrevivientes del abuso y la violencia domestica

Immigration Laws can help Survivors of Domestic Violence and Abuse

Immigrant victims of violence may be eligible for legal relief.  Catholic Charities of Idaho Immigration Legal Services Program (ILSP) provides free legal services and representation to victims of domestic violence and partner abuse thanks to a project supported by the Idaho State Police and a grant awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. Consultations are available daily, by appointment, walk-in and phone conferencing.

Contact Cynthia or Ana at 208-345-6031 or click on the link below to learn more.

Póngase en contacto con Cynthia o Ana en 208-345-6031 o haga clic en el siguiente enlace para obtener más información.

Immigration Legal Services-U-Visa VAWA

Refugees and Fair Housing Law – What every provider should know TODAY

One of the many challenges refugees and their sponsoring agencies face is securing decent, safe and affordable housing near public transportation and employment. For some, western housing construction, layout and systems take some getting used to; that’s a cultural and social issue, and can be addressed with case management. Another issue involves credit and background checks required by most, if not all, landlords and property management companies.

Refugees were in fact responsible and successful homeowners in their native country prior to forced relocation. They can succeed here as well if given the chance. Every refugee receives cash and/or housing assistance for several months after their arrival. They also receive extensive case management and support from local resettlement agencies to secure employment and adjust to life in their new community.

Fair housing law requires housing providers to treat every applicant equally, and that places a burden on them to document credit, rental and criminal history for each applicant without exception. For those who lack any history in these areas, official refugee status (Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act), provides “immediate lawful status with all the rights and privileges of a U.S. citizen (except the right to vote or work for a government entity.)

There is some irony here for all involved; for years, strict fair housing testing and enforcement have had the desired impact on providers, who are now more focused than ever on compliance, and avoid any flexibility or perceived subjectivity in the tenant screening process. Landlords are reduced to using the same yardstick to measure all applicants. When asked now by advocates to treat refugees ‘differently,’ many providers are understandably leery of deviating from the bright line drawn for them by HUD and its enforcement contractors for many years.

Accepting alternate documentation.We all need to expand our concept of ‘documentation’ to remain compliant as this situation evolves. Refugees are brought into this country for resettlement by the U.S. State Department, and carefully screened by the Department of Homeland Security, United Nations refugee Agency. Here are some examples of alternate documentation:

Alternate Documentation

To get the facts and contacts regarding renting to refugees, download:

refugees housing brochure

or contact the following agencies:

Agency for New Americans (208) 338-0033
Idaho Office for Refugees (208) 336-4222
International Rescue Committee (208) 344-1792
World Relief (208) 323-4964
English Language Center (208) 336-5533

See also useful refugee housing/communications resources at: