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Refugees are forced to flee from war, the threat of violence, or genocide. They often have to leave their homes with little time to prepare or gather belongings, they deal with the trauma of deprivation, persecution and culture shock. LSF helps newcomers from all regions of the world resettle safely in communities throughout Florida. Our goal is to ensure refugees achieve their much-desired economic self-sufficiency, social and cultural adjustment

LSF has provided refugee settlement support since 1982 to more than 200,000 families who fled religious and political persecution and oppression in their home countries.  With the support from LSF and the community, refugees go from being in the most difficult situations to putting down roots and becoming integral members of our communities. Below you will find more information on the process and menu of services. 

What is the difference between migrants, immigrants and refugees? 

A migrant is in the process of relocating to a new home country, once settled in one country they are considered immigrants. Refugees are forced to move whereas immigrants want to move. Through the case management process an immigrant may discover they have refugee status. Contact us to better clarify what path best describes your situation.  

How does the process work? 

Each individual and family is connected with a variety of options and services, something we call Comprehensive Refugee Services (CRS). The CRS program is an integrated service access system. This means staff or Case Managers (CM) coordinate services that are essential to refugee/entrant families’ self-sufficiency, effective resettlement, and successful integration into the local community.  The Case Manager (CM) will monitor the plan from start to completion and help the family access needed services needed that can be provided in-house and/or by another provider.  

Services offered may include but are not limited to:  

  • Legal services
  • Youth services 
  • Mentoring  
  • Childcare services
  • Translation and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring 
  • Referrals to medical professionals and other service providers 
  • Cultural orientation 
  • Mentoring services 
  • Connections with local churches and community groups 
  • Housing assistance

What is case management?  

A case manager (CM) will be assigned to the refugee and their family. The case manager helps the family identify They will then be asked a series of questions called an assessment to better understand what the circumstances are, what challenges they are facing and what services can help. Through case management, the CM and refugee family devise a plan called a Family Integration and Self Sufficiency Plan that lays out what services they will need as listed above.  

What are Refugee Employment Services?

The primary purpose of the Refugee Employment Program is to provide support to refugees by finding them employment to achieve self-sufficiency. LSF Employment Services include: 

  • Development of Employability and Family Self-Sufficiency Plans 
  • Job search assistance including activities so that they obtain related work skills until they are employed. 
  • Job placement and support services which include assistance with childcare and/or transportation costs and/or other work-related expenses.   
  • Employment Preparation Sessions: evaluating the work skills of those we serve and helping them prepare for job interviews. 
  • Retention and Support Services: providing counseling and guidance for employed refugees so that they keep their jobs and succeed in the workplace. 
  • Financial education and asset building components are also offered to participants


What is the extent of the legal help provided? 

The LSF immigration program focuses exclusively on helping immigrants and refugees to establish legal residency, become citizens and reunite families. Our multilingual counselors staff help people from more than 70 different nations by providing legal assistance and representation in a full range of immigration-related legal services, from initial advice, to completing forms and filing with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), to full representation before the Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). 

LSF’s areas of legal assistance are listed below, some are available for refugees and some only for immigrants: 

  • Adjustment of Status 
  • Asylum applications 
  • Consular processing 
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 
  • Employment authorization  
  • Employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant petitions 
  • Family-based petitions 
  • The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 
  • Naturalization 
  • Citizenship 
  • Removal hearings 
  • Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SJ) 
  • T or U visas 
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) 
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petitions 

What services are offered to youth with refugee status?  

Lutheran Services Florida Youth Services provides educational, language, and employment support for eligible refugee individuals who may be at risk of dropping out of high school, not meeting high school graduation requirements, or need alternatives to a traditional high school education, with an overall goal of employment and integration.  

ACADEMIC SERVICES PATHWAY is for youth clients ages 16-18 with the desired outcome of graduating high school, or completion of an educational program for obtaining a GED. The goal of the Academic pathway shall be graduating high school or obtaining a GED. Youth older than 18 are eligible if the person is enrolled in high school or a high school equivalent (GED) program.  

CAREER SERVICES PATHWAY is for youth clients ages 16-19 with the desired outcome of employment in an unsubsidized job and / or vocational training leading to employment. 

 Does LSF provide all these services? 

LSF relies on a network of providers and resources to ensure refugees and their families.  

Not all our locations offer all these services, however, our staff can help you find the services available to you and your family.  

LUTHERAN SERVICES FLORIDA CENTRAL SERVICES | 3627 W. WATERS AVE | TAMPA, FL 33614 | PHONE: (813) 875-1408 | FAX: (813) 875-1302

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