Baltimore City’s New Initiative for Refugee, Immigrant Communities

The Baltimore New American Access Coalition aims to improve access to health and social services for immigrant and refugee families.

$4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds establishes Baltimore City’s new initiative to support immigrant and refugee communities through the Baltimore New American Access Coalition (BNAAC). The initiative connects these communities to short- and long-term health and social resources to help them weather the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.

“The City of Baltimore is committed to providing resources to residents critically impacted by the aftermath of COVID-19,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott said. “The BNAAC will ensure that traditionally underserved communities have equitable access to health and human services to help them make ends meet and ensure a higher quality-of-life for immigrant and refugee communities here in Baltimore. In order to be effective, we are using our ARPA funds in tandem with policy and programming to produce coordinated, comprehensive progress.”

In response to systemic barriers, the BNAAC establishes a cadre of Benefits Navigators across four community-based organizations to help residents with limited English proficiency navigate and access health and social resources based on immediate and long-term needs. Partner organizations were selected based on target communities and geography to meet New Americans where they reside.

According to the Mayor’s press release, the four partner organizations include:

  • Catholic Charities Esperanza Center will support African foreign-born families concentrated in Northeast and foreign-born families citywide
  • The International Rescue Committee will support refugee, asylees, and Mandarin/Korean speaking foreign-born families concentrated in Central, Northeast, and West Baltimore
  • CASA will support Latino foreign-born families in Northwest and South Baltimore
  • Southeast CDC will support Latino foreign-born families in Southeast Baltimore

Additionally, the BNAAC will incorporate immigration legal services to educate families about their rights to access public programs. These include access to immigration clinics and consultations to dispel any myths and misinformation preventing them from applying to programs.

Read more about the initiative in the Mayor’s press release.