ABOUT SLM

More than 68 million people worldwide have been uprooted by conflict and natural disaster. A group of concerned Missoulians came together to be a small part of alleviating the suffering for these families and provide a "soft landing" for them in their new community of Missoula, Montana. Soft Landing Missoula focuses on building a sustainable effort to engage the community in being a welcoming, supportive and informed place to help refugees integrate and thrive.

In the fall of 2016, Soft Landing Missoula was born from a grassroots effort by Missoula community members with the goal to do more for refugees fleeing war and persecution. At the time, Montana was one of only 2 states in the nation that was not participating in resettlement. One short year later, and a lot of hard work by many, we saw the arrival of the first refugee family to land in Missoula in decades. Once refugees arrive in Missoula through the International Rescue Committee (IRC), we work alongside incredible partners and community members to provide ongoing support to our new neighbors as they settle into our community.

We are honored to do this work, in this place, with all of the wonderful people that have come our way.

 

WHAT WE DO

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COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER

safe and welcoming gathering place

resource board connecting refugees with the community and fullfilling needs

volunteer recruitment, training & management

food pantry providing supplemental food assistance

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REFUGEE ADULT SUPPORT

in-home English tutoring one-on-one

driver's education in preparation for the written exam

individual mentorship

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REFUGEE TEEN SUPPORT

after school academic tutoring twice a week

teen team social, educational, and recreational monthly gatherings

individual mentorship

 
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COMMUNITY EDUCATION and OUTREACH

presentations to the community

SLM Presents lecture series in partnership with the University of Montana.

partnerships with local and national organizations

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IN-KIND DONATION ORGANIZATION & DISTRIBUTION

collect needed items in partnership with local churches, schools & other community groups

bikes, helmets and locks providing access to transportation

facilitate donation of cars for transportation and independence

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United We Eat

specialized events to provide economic opportunity to refugee chefs and cultural sharing to the Missoula community

Supper Club partnering refugee chefs with local restaurants for a special meal.

entrepreneurship support to help refugee chefs work towards licensing their own businesses

 

 
We know that we are at our best when we are motivated by openness, compassion and opportunity for others.
— MARY POOLE, SOFT LANDING MISSOULA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
 

 

AT-A-GLANCE

 

 Who is a refugee?

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There are 68.5 million forcibly displace people in the world.

25.4 million are categorized as refugees.

55,684 refugees (less than .5%) were resettled across the globe in 2018 (22,491 in the US).

 

What does DISPLACED mean?
People who are categorized as displaced may be internally displaced in their own country; seeking asylum in neighboring countries; stateless persons; refugees; other.

Who qualifies as a REFUGEE?
A person who has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. People must register with the United Nations (UN) outside of the borders of thier own country to become a refugee.

THERE ARE 3 PATHS FOR REFUGEES:
1 RETURN to their home country if conflicts are resolved
2 REMAIN where they have fled, possibly as second-class citizens
3 RESETTLE with an opportunity to make a new home
The UN always prioritizes solutions 1 and 2. Only the most vulnerable are recommended for resettlement and they cannot pick their country of resettlement. The hardest way to enter the US is as a refugee.

SOME VULNERABILITY CATEGORIES INCLUDE:
• women & children at risk

• medical needs

• LGBTQ

• survivors of violence &/or torture

• family reunification









SLM

SLM  In 2015, the UN reported that 51% of global refugees
  were children and this percentage is climbing.

 

 Resettlement in the US

 

Once the UN has referred a refugee to the US for resettlement, the US screening process begins. The US decides whether or not to accept the refugee for resettlement. The entire process is conducted abroad and can take over 2 years and in some cases, decades.

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The United States has an exceptional history of welcoming refugees and is the top resettlement country in the world.

 

How does the VETTING PROCESS work?  REFUGEES GO THROUGH:

8

US Federal Government Agencies

 6

  security
  databases

 5

  separate
  background
  checks

 4

  biometric security
  checks

 3

  separate
  in-person
  interviews

 2

  inter-agency
  security checks

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UNHCR refers a vulnerable refugee for resettlement

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US government screens the refugee & determines whether to admit them for resettlement or not

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The State Department assigns the case to one of the 9 agencies that operate in over 200 location in the US

 

WHEN A FAMILY IS CLEARED FOR RESETTLEMENT, 9 non-profit, government-contracted agencies provid incoming families access to core services such as food, shelter, medical care, employment and education. These organizations operate in over 200 locations nationwide. In Missoula, this role is filled by the International Rescue Committee (IRC)

 

HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

Find out more information about how you can take action here. Ready to jump in? Choose your way of contributing.

 

WELCOME NEW NEIGHBORS FROM:

 
SYRIA    "What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well being of a generation of innocents...The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their futures. Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatized, depressed and in need of a reason for hope." ...

SYRIA

"What is at stake is nothing less than the survival and well being of a generation of innocents...The youth of Syria are losing their homes, their family members and their futures. Even after they have crossed a border to safety, they are traumatized, depressed and in need of a reason for hope." ...

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO    "Over the past 12 years, nearly 11,000 Congolese refugees have been resettled in the United States, in more than 220 cities in 45 states." ...

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

"Over the past 12 years, nearly 11,000 Congolese refugees have been resettled in the United States, in more than 220 cities in 45 states." ...

IRAQ    "By the end of 2015, Iraq’s unending conflicts had driven 4.4 million people from their homes, and another half a million into exile...that number has only grown since then." ...

IRAQ

"By the end of 2015, Iraq’s unending conflicts had driven 4.4 million people from their homes, and another half a million into exile...that number has only grown since then." ...

ERITREA    "For the past 130 years, but for one brief, jubilant moment after the war for independence, Eritrea has experienced an endless succession of conquerors and dictators, ravages and depredations. Yet its people still seek to be free." ...

ERITREA

"For the past 130 years, but for one brief, jubilant moment after the war for independence, Eritrea has experienced an endless succession of conquerors and dictators, ravages and depredations. Yet its people still seek to be free." ...

 

FOR MORE INFO, CHECK OUT THESE WEBSITES: