The Louisville Refugee Elder Program serves refugees ages 60 and over with learning English, preparing for citizenship and becoming active members of their community. Recognized as a model program by the Center for Applied Linguistics, the program meets twice a week for four levels of classroom instruction. Activities such as art classes, fitness sessions, one-on-one mentoring, and field trips are offered. Twice monthly cultural orientation sessions include topics relevant to elder refugees such as healthcare in America, Crimes Against Seniors, and mental health and wellness.
Refugee elders face a unique set of challenges different from their American or younger counterparts. Many continue to live near or below the poverty threshold, even after resettlement support. Assistance from government programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is crucial in allowing these elders to meet their basic needs. Unfortunately, due to federal law, after seven years SSI benefits are only available for those who have become United States citizens. Without SSI benefits, elderly refugees have no source of income or are entirely reliant on family members or friends for financial support.
Obtaining citizenship before the seven year mark, while crucial, is challenging for many refugee elders. Many elders who resettle in the U.S. are illiterate in their own language. Physical and psychological traumas, depression or PTSD pose further barriers to learning English and are common among this demographic. The alternative option of medical waiver (N648) for obtaining citizenship may require high out-of-pocket expenses and is challenging to obtain.
The program relies very heavily on dedicated volunteers. In-class volunteers help in the classroom and provide additional one-on-one tutoring before and during class. The program has a strong mentor program, which involves pairing an elder with a mentor who works in-home with the elder on English language learning and citizenship preparation. Mentors also help to introduce the elder to different community activities and services, and provide individualized one-on-one attention that may be missing from the elder’s life. Most mentors meet with the elders they are paired with once a week.
The Services to Older Refugees Program Coordinator will coordinate and supervise the twice weekly county-wide program for refugee elders. The coordinator will provide Reception and Placement (R&P) case management to new arrivals aged 65 and older. Working closely with the Refugees of the World (ROW) office and Special Medical staff, the coordinator will identify and coordinate social services specific to refugee elders, including those between the ages of 60 and 64, with a focus on new arrivals and at risk older adults. Duties are outlined below.
Essential Duties and Tasks
- Provide timely delivery of “core services” required by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Church World Service (CWS) (e.g. airport arrival, home visits, maintaining case files to ensure compliance with federal program)
- Assist eligible elders to apply for SSI-Aged or SSI-Disability
- Coordinate transportation for refugee elders, monthly meeting with ESL teachers, oversight of ESL instructions and oversight of elder art programs/exhibits.
- Submit program expenses, purchase materials, train and supervise program staff, interns, and volunteers
- Schedule field trips, speakers and mentors
- Manage the county-wide Services to Older Refugees grant, paying attention to details such as budget management including transportation, personnel and supplies costs related to the program, and submitting trimester reports
- Obtain elder program food for mid-morning meal on program days
- Arrange community/social services outreach, on site program maintenance/supervision, and coordination of interpreters
- Conduct weekly meetings/coordination with KRM staff, home visits, medical appointment coordination, coordination of medical transportation
- Assist with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and food stamp issues as needed and document services
- Assist clients to apply for their green card and/or citizenship, SSI benefits and other case management needs as needed.
- Refer clients in need to in-home care services and/or adult day care.
- Attend department and staff meetings.
Founded in 1990 as a nonprofit agency in Louisville, Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) is a local affiliate of Church World Service, one of nine national voluntary agencies authorized to provide resettlement services to refugees legally admitted to the United States through the State Department’s Refugee Admissions Program. Currently, KRM’s Louisville office currently receives 325 newly-arrived refugees a year. KRM’s Lexington office, opened in 1995, receives over 200 refugee arrivals a year.
KRM Louisville also currently serves 300 recently-arrived Cuban immigrants a year, as well as small number of individuals from various countries who have been approved for asylum and those applying for asylum.
KRM secures housing and medical care for refugees and provides them with comprehensive case management including employment services, ESL and cultural orientation, and specialized programs for refugee youth and elders and the arts. KRM also offers citizenship classes for refugees and immigrants preparing to apply for U.S. citizenship. KRM’s Louisville office has an immigration legal services office with six full-time staff, including three attorneys, who provide a services to immigrants of all statuses.
KRM staff do not engage in any religious messaging in connection to delivery of client services.
Compensation and Benefits
Pay rate is commensurate with experience and background. Paid holidays, vacation, sick and personal days are provided on a pro-rated basis after introductory period.
Salary Range: Hourly
- Bachelor’s degree, preferably a Master’s in Social Work or Administration.
- Highly organized, personable, collegial, and professional.
- Strong computer skills, including proficiency in MS Excel.
- Previous cross-cultural experience required, preferably in a social service, development or educational setting.
- Ability to work with clients of diverse nationalities and cultures.
- Care and concern for the unique experiences of refugees ages 60 and over.
- Ability to integrate volunteers into program to improve educational outreach and effectiveness of instruction.
- Ability to multi-task.
- Detail-oriented and organized.
- Record keeping skills.
- Strong outreach skills; ability to connect with diverse types of organizations: schools, businesses, government, faith organizations, etc.
- Team oriented; ability to work in coordination and close collaboration with program and agency staff.
- Self-motivated; ability to develop and implement new and innovative projects.
- Demonstrated capability to effectively communicate orally and in writing
How to Apply:
Interested applicants should reply with a résumé and cover letter by June 14 to:
John Koehlinger, Executive Director
Kentucky Refugee Ministries
Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.