Holy Trinity United Methodist Church, Danvers, MA
REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT COMMITTEE
About the Committee
The next meeting of the HTUMC Refugee Committee will be held Thursday, April 20th, 7:00 PM in the church fellowship hall conference room. Everyone is encouraged to attend. Grace Gaskill from Catholic Charities' POWR program will be there to instruct us in working with refugees to help them assimilate into our community. POWR stands for Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees. There are families in the pipeline that could be coming to this area before the end of July and CCAB is asking for help. If all goes well, we might be able to provide housing, so we need to be ready.
The NuDay Syria collection will be wrapping up Easter Sunday. We will need help sorting and transporting the items to NuDay, possibly in Nashua.
If you are interested in helping with this project and we don't know about you yet, please contact Chairman Ray Tilton at HTRefugeeComm@gmail.com.
In mid-October 2016, a few members of the congregation approached Pastor Matt Wissell and the Church Council to suggest that Holy Trinity might sponsor a refugee family, perhaps from Syria. With their approval, the first committee meeting was called on October 28 to investigate how this might be done. By the second meeting two days later, over a dozen people had offered to help.
The next step was to establish sub-committees to divide up the work load in a logical way. The first sub-committee to get underway was the Agencies/Process Committee. As of mid-December, it has essentially completed its work learning how the resettlement process works and what official agency we might work with. When we are ready to commit, we hope to partner with Catholic Charities, which was enthusiastic about working with us. See the Agency/Process Committee page to get up to date about our findings.
Now the focus is on the Housing Committee, led by Dave Johnson and Doug Bean. The priority is to collect leads on affordable housing, preferably near transportation, possibly in Danvers but probably in Peabody, Salem or Lynn, and to figure out how to get the timing right - finding a suitable apartment that is open at the time of our family's arrival.
Our December meeting featured Don Preston, Executive Director of North Shore Habitat for Humanity, who described the grim affordable housing situation in our area and suggested a couple of possible options we could explore.
Catholic Charities (CCAB) representatives Marjean Perhot and Grace Gaskill came to speak at our January meeting. They explained how a collaboration between Holy Trinity and CCAB would work under CCAB's POWR program. POWR stands for Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees.
Sub-committees to deal with learning English, job opportunities, medical services and cultural orientation are also being formed. Furnishings may become its own committee, separate from housing, and we are likely to need a committed and well-organized team to deal with transportation, though this does not as yet have its own web page. There may be other sub-committees if the work needs further division.
This website was launched on November 6 as a means of collecting and sharing information. If you are interested in working on this project, check the resource pages for the area you'd like to work on to see what information we have collected so far.