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Highlights services provided to refugees forced to leave their country of origin
Home to 10.4 million residents, including refugees, 140 cultures, and as many as 224 languages, Los Angeles County is the most populated and culturally diverse county in America. To celebrate the numerous contributions that refugees have made to enhance the culture in Los Angeles County, the Board of Supervisors has proclaimed June as “Refugee Awareness Month.”
The United States is historically recognized around the world as a nation that welcomes refugees who pursue freedom, opportunity and integration. America offers refugees a chance for a new start and a better future for their families, free of religious and political persecution, war and civil turmoil.
“The decision to leave their country often involves unimaginable risks,” says Sheryl L. Spiller, Director of the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). “In choosing Los Angeles County as their new-found home, we are afforded the opportunity to serve and assist them in rebuilding their lives – free from the harm, oppression and the violence they left behind.”
The annual observance serves as an opportunity to highlight the collaboration between DPSS’ Greater Avenues for Independence Refugee Employment Program, the Department of Public Health, and community and faith-based partners to help refugee families and individuals begin their new lives in the county.
This partnership provides culturally and linguistically sensitive resettlement assistance, including specialized employment and training services to eligible refugees residing in the United States. The services are provided for up to five years from date of entry in the U.S. or from the date asylum was granted to assist refugees in adapting to the American workplace and ultimately achieving self-sufficiency to end their dependence on public assistance.
The County’s recognition coincides with the State of California’s annual “Refugee Awareness Month” observance and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees declaration of “World Refugee Day” on June 20. DPSS will also join the Los Angeles Refugee Forum to host the organization’s annual World Refugee Day Fair in the City of Glendale. The event will offer a wealth of information and resources regarding family reunification, how to apply for DPSS benefit assistance programs, where to find employment opportunities, and many other services to help refugees with their difficult transitions.
For more information about DPSS Refugee Employment Services, or for a listing of community partners, please visit: http://dpss.lacounty.gov/dpss/gain/refugee/default.cfm.