Houston A small family from syria

We arrive at the airport after a 26 hour flight and immediately enter the immigration process at the airport, which feels like forever though it's only four hours. We are greeted at the airport by our Resettlement Case Manager and a group of people we are being informed are our welcome team who are committed to making out transition to Houston as smooth as possible. Everybody is being so kind and welcoming.

We are taken to our new home right after the airport. We walk into the apartment and are given a hot meal of chicken and rice right away. The hot meal tastes so good after all of our traveling. The Case Manager gives us a brief housing orientation to demonstrate how to lock the door, where items are located, and a tour of our apartment. The Case Manager and Welcome Team leave so that we may get some rest.

The Resettlement Case Manager arrives the next day and conducts a home visit. During the visit, the Case Manager makes it a point to introduce us to the community in the area. It helps to know we aren't alone in this transition. Then, the Case Manager takes us to apply for Social Security cards. After the Social Security office, we are given a free cellphone with free service for one month. After that, the Case Manager takes us to the RST office for an intake. The day ends back at the apartment as the Case Manager helps us sign and understand the lease agreement for our apartment.

Our Case Manager arrives to bring us a food donation from a local church and connect us with community members such as the Syrian American club and other Syrians who are also living in the apartment complex. I immediately become friends with one of the other women. We ask if we may also be connected with a mosque in the area as well. By now, our Case Manager has applied SNAP, Cash Assistance and Medicaid. My husband and I have also been enrolled in ESL Classes as well as Employment services. The Case Manager assists us with USCIS change of address request and then heads out.

Later, the Case Manager takes us to do a health screening. At the health clinic the vaccinate our children so that we can enroll them in school, which the case manager takes us to do next. While there, we register our children in school bus services so that they can get to school everyday since we don't have a car yet. The Case Manager also helps us go to our initial Pre-Medical Care Provider visit and then makes sure we have appointments for any additional services we need, such as internet.

We are set up for a 1-on-1 culture orientation and bus orientation to help us adjust to Houston even further. A guest from Houston Independent School District meets us to do a school orientation and teach my whole family about school here in Houston and what is expected. After the orientation, we head back to our apartment to meet with our Case Manager. While the Case Manager looks over the apartment, she asks about any concerns we are having and I bring up my husband's disability and how he can't work. She helps us apply for Social Security disability benefits and tells us she will try and get a wheelchair donated for my husband.

We reached the end our first 90 days, so the Resettlement Case Manager closes our case and refers us to a Social Adjustment Services Case Manager. The Social Adjustment Case Manager will continue to help us as we finalize our transition into Houston. My husband now has a wheelchair and we have been joining in on community field trips to learn more about our new home. My children are attending school everyday and enjoying it. I am thankful my family is getting the opportunity to build new lives here.

Credits:

Created with images by vastateparksstaff - "TL - Cabin4 Kitchen" • PinkMoose - "don mills apartment complex ii" • Patrick Feller - "Houston Metro 0710101314" • avMachine713 - "houston downtown city texas park scenic cityscape"

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