When refugee families arrive in the US, they have the clothes on their backs (and in their 2 suitcases) and nothing else. Renting and furnishing an apartment in Rhode Island is difficult, even with the (scanty) one-time stipend from the federal program. Besides paying for the rent, the furniture, the kitchenware and other daily needs, as well as phone, internet, and utilities, each member of the family must pay back the cost of their plane ticket six months after arrival. Most families speak very little English and experience culture-shock upon arrival. A simple chore like doing laundry at the laundromat may seem daunting.
This is why we have designed two separate programs to assist the refugees: