This week I was very very happy to have greeted a newly arrived refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has been living in South Africa for three years, and was finally scheduled on a flight to the United States.
He is a transgendered, a gay rights activist, strong, bright, sweet, and a real pleasure to know.
He arrived late Thursday, and Friday was a whirlwind of bureaucracy: filing for a Social Security number, getting local cell phone SIM and plan, experiencing the joys of MUNI and the Clipper Card system. Everything went well.
It is great fun to show someone like him around San Francisco, a place his has heard about, and to show him the different people and styles blending on our streets!
But, I need your help to continue our help.
The church’s Guardian Group assisting Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transsexual Intersex refugees settle in San Francisco needs money. A reasonably good size amount of money.
It’s been over a year since I personally have asked for money for the group. Frankly, we are pretty tightfisted and I didn’t see a need for more donations. In addition, our initial refugee clients have been in the country for over a year so their need for financial support has gone down.
Earlier this year, before our refugee from the Congo arrived, we started helping a Nigerian asylum seeker, a Ugandan asylum seeker, and a Russian asylum seeker who recently was granted asylum. Two of these men have received/are receiving help to pay for food, Clipper (transit) cards, and other similar items. We have funded these items from past gifts.
But, we need more money now. We have roughly $3,000 in our accounts, and we will need to spend about $6,000 in the next few months.
- Our experience tell us that order to provide support for things like bus passes and basic essentials in high-cost San Francisco we will need on the average, $2,000 to assist a person his first year here. We don’t have any costs yet for supporting the refugee who arrived this week, but he’s mentioned wanting socks, rice, and other outlandish materialistic items! So, we’re budgeting $2,000 for his needs.
- One of the men we help is seeking asylum and therefore cannot work and earn money. This week I took him shopping for his food: rice, vegetables, sandwich meat, onions, cheese. Modest stuff, but $35.13 of modest stuff. Oh yeah, another $9.23 for protective spray for his suede shoes, and we loaded his Clipper Card up with $60.
This is not a lot money, but he’ll need ongoing support like this each week until he is granted asylum and able to work. Waiting for the immigration court to rule took seven months for the last man we helped. Even at our careful rate of expenditure of about $40 a week, plus some lumps for transit and other needs, we will need $1,500 or so to adequately help him survive in San Francisco… at this assumes that his current free housing offer is extended until he’s eligible to work.
- One of our longer-term refugees has painful teeth. Last week he went to a dental school and even at the teaching facility the estimate for care is over $2,200. He needs three crowns, and Medi-Cal covers only fillings or extraction. We don’t want this man in his 20’s to have three teeth pulled.
Yes, we have immediate needs that require for your help.
How to Give
- Give online.
When you are at the donation page in the link, look for “Refugee Guardian Group” midway down the column of recipients.We appreciate whatever you can give, and ongoing monthly donations are especially helpful in letting us budget.
- Send a check in.
Please put a large “REFUGEE GUARDIAN GROUP” in the memo area so the money gets into our account. Send the check to: First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94109.
Thank you for being so responsive and kind.