Asylum Seekers Working Group:
New Arrivals Needs Assessment
Asylum Seekers Working Group Zoom meeting (February 5th, 2021)
During our February 5th Asylum Seekers Working Group Meeting, it was agreed that a more concerted effort was needed to address the needs of the current stream of arrivals as well as the stress that is currently being placed on the ethnic community-based organizations.
Additionally, with the change in administration and the rolling back of Trump immigration policies, we should anticipate that in addition to the steady stream of asylum seekers we have been experiencing, there is also the potential for a large number of people to come in a short period of time, such as we saw with the Expo in 2019. We need to prepare for this possibility, learning from our earlier experiences and taking into consideration how COVID may complicate these efforts.
In an effort to make this situation more manageable, MIRC and the New Mainer’s Resource Center began to gather information to help us get a sense of what is being done now, where there are gaps in services and what it would take to meet the range of needs. Data was collected through surveys from over 20 asylum seeker provider organizations, organization reports from the EXPO response efforts in 2019, and data from COVID-19 social support referrals and state contracts.
From this data, we were able to identify some key themes in community needs, organizations’ resources, and the pressing gaps in services. We presented this information to the Asylum Seekers Working Group on April 2, making a series of recommendations moving forward as well as showcasing the work already happening among MIRC’s member organizations.
Community efforts during the Summer of 2019 at the Portland Expo to support asylum seeker families arriving in Maine.