A new statewide program will offer temporary rent aid for eligible refugees and asylees in Michigan.
The initiative, led by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Global Michigan, is meant to help new arrivals resettle and find affordable housing.
It provides rent aid from $300 to $500 a month, based on immigration status and household size, to applicants for up to 12 months.
“The Newcomer Rental Subsidy program will increase access to better and more affordable housing opportunities while supporting a more rapid social integration for refugees and other newcomer populations in Michigan,” said Poppy Hernandez, director of the Office of Global Michigan, in a news release Monday.
The program received $4 million from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) for two years and federal funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Refugees, asylees, those with special immigration visas, victims of human trafficking, Cuban and Haitian entrants, Afghan nationals and humanitarian parolees, in the U.S. temporarily, from Ukraine, qualify for the program, according to the state. It also includes those who arrived through the Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan (CHNV) program and family reunification parole process from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia and individuals with pending asylum cases.
The program is available for low-income renters, households experiencing housing instability, or receiving federal assistance, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Applicants, who must live in Michigan, have to be employed or part of a job readiness or placement program, such as Michigan Works!, a workforce development network.
The application form is currently only available in English. Those who need help completing it can contact the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity at LEO-RefugeeServices@michigan.gov.
For more information about the program requirements and to complete an application, go to Michigan.gov/NewcomerRentalSubsidy.
More than 2,400 refugees arrived in Michigan from October 2022 through September 2023 from countries including Afghanistan, Syria and Burma, according to the U.S. state department’s Refugee Processing Center. In 2016, Michigan was the fourth largest state for refugee resettlement, taking in more than 30,000 arrivals over the last decade, Global Detroit, an economic development organization, reported.
After the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, hundreds of Afghans arrived in Michigan as agencies scrambled to house families, amid an already short supply of affordable housing. Last year, a new coalition launched in Detroit to help Ukrainians and Afghans find jobs, housing and transportation.