Colorado Refugee Services Program

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Collage of photos of refugees from different countries

Welcome to the Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP). Our mission is to ensure the effective resettlement of refugees and to promote refugee advancement past self-sufficiency and to long-term integration. Colorado has a long history of leadership and support for refugee resettlement. Whether you are a refugee, asylee, community partner, or an interested individual looking for a way to connect, we hope to provide you with the resources you need.

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Information for newcomers and the welcoming community

The Colorado Refugee Services Program helps newcomers and our welcoming community to navigate available programs and services in our state. Start here to explore frequently asked questions, get information about resources, learn how community sponsorship works and how to connect sponsored individuals to services.

Frequently asked questions

How can I support refugees in Colorado? 

Thanks for your interest in supporting your new refugee neighbors. Colorado’s refugee resettlement agencies are key partners in welcoming refugees. Explore their websites for opportunities to donate, volunteer and engage. 

 There are many other organizations that support refugees in Colorado. Explore Colorado Refugee Connect to learn more. 
 
Which groups have recently arrived, or are currently arriving, in Colorado? 

Since fall 2021, Colorado has welcomed many newcomers, primarily Afghans, Ukrainians, and Cubans, though newcomers from 40+ additional countries have also arrived during this time. From October 2021 through September 2022, Colorado has welcomed more than 2,700 Afghans. Displaced Ukrainians and others who last habitually resided in Ukraine who were granted Humanitarian Parole have been arriving since Spring 2022. More than 500 Ukrainians have already arrived in Colorado and an estimated 1,000-2,000 Ukrainians will arrive in Colorado from Spring 2022 through Fall of 2023. In the past year, Colorado has seen approximately 900 Cuban arrivals to the state, an unprecedented amount for the state’s refugee program that is unlikely to slow down in the near future.

For detailed annual data from the Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP), explore the "About refugees in Colorado" section below. 
 
What services are available for refugees and other eligible populations? 

There are an array of services available for individuals served via the refugee program. For more information on refugee services and benefits these populations may be eligible for, visit the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement website. Services include: case management, referrals to services, public benefits assistance, job search and placement, housing assistance, behavioral health, legal assistance, and more. Each program may have additional eligibility requirements; the aforementioned list highlights the range of services available. All programs funded by CRSP are detailed in the ‘Services for Refugees’ section on this webpage. 
 
Is there specific information for Afghans and Ukrainians resettling in Colorado? 

Yes. In response to large arrivals numbers for these two communities, the State of Colorado developed the following welcome packets to provide essential information about connecting to a wide array of services in Colorado.

I am a Ukrainian or I am supporting a Ukrainian. What is the first step to connect to services? 
 
Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees are strongly encouraged to reach out directly to CRSP. To register, Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees or their sponsors will need to provide CRSP with a copy of documents verifying their identity and immigration status, available medical documents, including tuberculosis and immunization records, as well as their current address and contact information. 
 
If you have any questions, or if you would like to help a Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolee
connect to the state refugee office, please contact, Elise Legge, the CRSP Community Sponsorship Coordinator:

Will receiving public benefits (such as Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, or SSI) potentially impact refugees, Afghan Humanitarian Parolees, Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees or other populations eligible for services from the Office of Refugee Resettlement if they apply for Legal Permanent Resident status in the U.S.?

Refugees, Afghan Humanitarian Parolees, Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees and other Office of Refugee Resettlement Eligible populations are not subject to the public charge test. This means that receipt of public assistance by these individuals at the time they held an Office of Refugee Resettlement eligible status will not be considered in their application for Legal Permanent Resident status. Receiving SNAP does not affect an individual’s immigration status and does not affect a non-citizen’s ability to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website to learn more.

What health services are required for Afghan and Ukrainian arrivals? How do we access these services?
 
The Refugee Domestic Medical Exam is a required health screening for all refugees and others served in the refugee program. Only select medical providers in Colorado are trained and funded to provide this exam. To coordinate this exam, individuals should work with their resettlement agency, or enroll with CRSP to be referred to a resettlement agency. 
 
As an element of the Domestic Medical Exam, individuals must also complete additional dose(s) of the COVID-19 vaccine and other age-appropriate vaccines. 
 
Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees are required to receive a medical screening for tuberculosis, including an Interferon-Gamma Release Assays test within 90 days of arrival. 
 
Have unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan or Ukraine come to Colorado? 

Unaccompanied Afghan Children have been placed in Colorado’s  Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) Program since late 2021 with the goal of awaiting reunification with families or emancipating from care. Unaccompanied Ukrainian children are eligible for the URM program, however, at this time there are no unaccompanied Ukrainian children or youth needing placements. 
Colorado is actively seeking foster families to provide a home and care for Unaccompanied Afghan youth, the majority of whom are males aged 16 years or older. For more information about becoming a foster parent for the URM Program, please connect with the Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains Foster Care program or Denver Human Services


How can I hire refugees and other eligible populations? 

Refugees and other eligible populations are permitted to work in the United States once they have received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Refugees come to the United States with a variety of educational and professional backgrounds and find employment in a wide array of fields, from production and service to IT, healthcare, professional services and more.
 
Refugee resettlement agencies and other workforce development organizations assist with job placement efforts. You may contact them directly, or reach out to CRSP (crsp@state.co.us) to share opportunities. 
 
Where can I learn more about sponsoring a refugee? 

There are several newly emerging ways you can engage by sponsoring a refugee. 
 
The Welcome.us website has several key resources about sponsoring a Ukrainian, including an FAQ and Welcome Connect, a platform that supports matching with a Ukrainian seeking a sponsor.
 
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website details the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program as well and the steps to apply.

Welcome packets

These comprehensive welcome packages support Colorado's newcomers to access essential programs and services across the state.

Community sponsorship

Community sponsorship offers a way for interested individuals and groups to directly support refugees and other displaced individuals to build lives in Colorado. All current or pending community sponsors are strongly encouraged to reach out to Elise Legge, the Colorado Refugee Services Program's community sponsorship coordinator, at elise.legge@state.co.us or 303.406.0549.

Download the Community Sponsorship Guide, which provides essential information for sponsors on how to connect with key resources and services in Colorado. 

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About refugees in Colorado

Refugees come to Colorado from many countries and bring an array of skills, backgrounds and life experiences. Our refugee neighbors share the common aspiration of finding safety and security and opportunities to establish themselves and their families in new communities.

The following reports and data provide information about the communities resettling in Colorado and show how newcomers are integrating and contributing to our state.

Reports about refugees in Colorado
 Economic and Fiscal Impact of Refugees in Colorado

This statewide study demonstrates the economic benefit from resettling refugees in Colorado.

 

 Colorado refugee economic impact snapshot (infographic)

This infographic summarizes some of the findings from the above report.

 

 Refugee Integration and Survey Evaluation (RISE)

This nationally recognized longitudinal study explores refugee integration over a five-year period.

Data about refugees in Colorado

CRSP collects data on refugee and other eligible populations statewide. Data collected includes key demographics such as national origin, age, and gender, alongside data on employment placement and ESL attendance. Browse and download this data below. View this glossary for a definition of terms.

 

Current refugee research

In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), CRSP manages the Colorado Centers of Excellence in Refugee Health. This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded program collects and analyzes refugee medical screening data from seven states and health indicators from the medical screening clinics in Colorado. The main program goals are to protect public health and improve the health of refugees. Future results will be published on this site.

Learn more about the Colorado Centers of Excellence in Refugee Health on their website.

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Services for refugees

CRSP funds a diverse network of service providers to support the effective resettlement and integration of refugees and other eligible populations in Colorado. Visit the Office of Refugee Resettlement's website for a complete list of all eligible populations. This infographic shows the types of programs and services that CRSP funds. All CRSP-funded programs and services are listed in greater detail below.

Just granted asylum? Watch this video to learn about available programs and services and reach out to your nearest resettlement agency to enroll.

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Resettlement agencies

Resettlement agencies support refugees and other eligible populations to integrate into the community. Services include securing initial housing, job search and placement, case management, access to public benefits, referrals to other services. Psychosocial support, women’s empowerment, financial literacy, and legal help are also available.

 

List of providers

 

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English as a Second Language

The Colorado Refugee Services Program invests in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes because building linguistic and cultural skills are key drivers of integration and economic self-sufficiency. ESL classes are available in many locations and include instruction for all levels. Contact the individual providers in the list below for class schedules and registration information.

 

List of providers

Metro Denver

Northern Colorado

Colorado Springs

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Career pathway planning

The CAREERS Program prepares refugees and other eligible populations for employment in fields with growth potential. This program has options for skilled professionals to return to prior professions or launch a new career, as well as options for individuals who are working in entry-level positions who want to establish a career with growth opportunities.

 

List of providers
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Health and wellness
Health and wellness

Services include initial medical and mental health screenings and connection to primary care and specialist or mental health services as needed. Programs also provide health education, case management, and navigation to improve access to health services and promote health literacy. Collaboration with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Health Care Policy and Financing support the medical screening processes, refugee health surveillance, and Refugee Medical Assistance administration.

 

List of providers
Youth services
Youth services

Programs for youth support our two-generation approach and provide holistic programming tailored to the needs and interests of youth. Youth programs utilize a positive youth development framework and incorporate educational and career-focused programming. Our partners’ programs are designed to support youth across the state, and include both in-person and remote options. 

 

List of providers
Elder and other support services
Supplemental services

Programs complement core resettlement services and are intentionally designed to build long-term integration and wellbeing. Supplemental services include legal services, navigation services, elder programs and more.

 

List of providers

Elder services

Other support services

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Connect

Colorado Refugee Connect is an initiative collaboratively led by Colorado’s three resettlement agencies in partnership with CRSP. Colorado Refugee Connect helps grow connections between refugees and our receiving community members in the following ways.

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 Learn

Watch refugee 101 videos to understand the resettlement process. Explore curated lists of books, movies and websites to build your knowledge.

 Engage

Search a statewide directory of refugee-serving organizations to access programs or volunteer. Request a speaker from the Colorado Refugee Speakers Bureau.

 Celebrate

Attend an upcoming event to learn more about and celebrate our refugee neighbors. Submit an event to further build connections across communities.

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About us

The Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) is a program of the Colorado Department of Human Services and is responsible for the statewide coordination of refugee resettlement under the authority of the Refugee Act of 1980. 

CRSP does not offer any direct services but instead works through a constellation of contracts and partners to achieve our goals. Our services and programs support refugees and the larger receiving community working together to build the social capital necessary to sustain a welcoming environment for refugees and build a stronger Colorado for us all. 

Our mission: Ensure the effective resettlement of refugees and promote refugee advancement past self-sufficiency and to long-term integration.

Our vision: Refugees are safe, healthy, and prepared to achieve their greatest aspirations.

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Contact us

Contact the Colorado Refugee Services Program at 303.863.8211 or crsp@state.co.us.