A new pilot program (CRISP) – backed by the Federal Government – is looking at how community support groups can help refugees.
The Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP) will allow groups of everyday Australians to get involved in welcoming refugees into their local community from ‘day one’ of their Australian journey. The program will support 1,500 refugees over four years.
The CRISP is inspired by the successful community refugee sponsorship program operating in Canada since the late 1970s, which has enabled more than 325,000 refugees to build a new life in Canada, in addition to those resettled under the government-funded resettlement program. Similar programs are now being implemented in many countries around the world, including the UK, US, NZ and Ireland.
CRISP is based on community support, where a group of five or more adult volunteers (known as a ‘Community Supporter Group’ or ‘CSG’) will provide 12 months of practical hands-on support to a refugee household from their date of arrival in Australia. CSGs can be based in a community anywhere in Australia, provided they can demonstrate capacity to provide appropriate support to a refugee household within that community.
Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) will approve, train and support CSGs and connect them with a refugee household referred into CRISP.
Refugee participants in this program will be those referred to Australia for resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees having been identified as in urgent need of resettlement. They could come from a wide variety of countries and may have been waiting for the opportunity to resettle in a safe new country for a long time.
‘It takes a village to support a family’. Imagine if the churches harnessed ‘people power’ to provide practical support to new refugees, after so many years of advocating for change in refugee policies.
Might this be something a local congregation could support, or local churches in an area working together?
(Here’s a story from NSW about Gosford Anglican church sponsoring a refugee family settling on the New South Wales Central Coast)
More information about CRISP here.