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 and immigrants 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. Our services also extend to other immigrants and English Language Learners in 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
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
REFUGEE ADULT SUPPORT
in-home English tutoring one-on-one
driver's education in preparation for the written exam
REFUGEE TEEN SUPPORT
after school academic tutoring twice a week
teen team social, educational, and recreational monthly gatherings
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
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
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
Who is a refugee?
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.
• medical needs
• family reunification
| 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.
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:
US Federal Government Agencies
UNHCR refers a vulnerable refugee for resettlement
US government screens the refugee & determines whether to admit them for resettlement or not
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)