Harris County

Report: Rush For Employment Creates Challenges For Houston’s Refugees

Refugees in Houston end up working long hours and multiple jobs, which makes it harder to learn English, assimilate and improve their education

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Houston skyline from HPM building roof.

Houstonians like to think of themselves as living in a welcoming city. But a new report by Rice University’s Kinder Institute reveals Houston’s refugees receive less support than people might think. 

Refugees have up to six months to get a job before their federal assistance runs out. After that, the burden is on local groups and governments to step up.

“After those six months, it’s really up to local city institutions to take care of the families and in Houston those institutions, in large part, just don’t exist,” said Yan Digilov, a researcher on the Kinder Institute report. 

Digilov said without financial assistance, refugees often take low-paying jobs that don’t require English.

“It’s kind of this really nasty cycle of perpetual low-wage employment, without any opportunity to sit to take care of the trauma and the mental stress that migration has on individuals and think about and envision a better life, or a better path forward.”

Digilov said refugees end up working long hours and multiple jobs, which makes it harder to learn English, assimilate and improve their education.

The report also recommends numerous key investments to improve the refugee situation in Houston, including the creation of more community centers, transportation assistance, free educational loans and alternative housing solutions. 

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