New Web Resource Helps LGBT Refugees Establish New Lives in US

March 5, 2012 is the nation’s first web tool created to address protection and resettlement challenges faced by this community

Chicago, IL—Heartland Alliance’s Rainbow Welcome Initiative launched its resource website, This first of its kind and easy to navigate site offers resources and tools to facilitate the successful integration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) refugees and asylees.

LGBT refugees and asylees face unique challenges and vulnerabilities before, during, and after resettlement. Recognizing a gap in the resettlement network’s response to this population, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) awarded a grant to Heartland Alliance to establish the Rainbow Welcome Initiative.

“We’ve worked with LGBT refugees throughout the world,” said Sid Mohn, President of Heartland Alliance, “and we understand the discrimination—and oftentimes—violence they can face both in their home country and in the U.S. Protecting their human right to a safe and healthy life is critical as they integrate into our communities.”

The site is designed to assist service providers as they work with LGBT refugees and asylees. Resources specifically for refugees and asylees are also available, including a “Know Your Rights” packet, created by Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center. Heartland Alliance is continuing to post originally produced resources as well as other relevant resources and will be translating content into Arabic, French, and Spanish.

In an age when refugees and asylees are increasingly accessing the internet both in their countries of origin and in the United States, this resource site is able to provide direct assistance to these communities, empowering them to assume an active role as they adjust to a life in a new country with new possibilities.

“Addressing the protection and resettlement challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender refugees is a priority for ACF and US Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR),” said former ACF Acting Assistance Secretary David. A. Hansell.

Heartland Alliance’s Rainbow Welcome Initiative supports the resettlement of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender (LGBT) refugees and asylees by offering technical assistance to service providers and disseminating critical resources relevant to both resettlement staff and refugees and asylees. For more information, visit:

Heartland Alliance believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives.  Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for more than one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety.  Our policy efforts strengthen communities; our comprehensive services empower those we serve to rebuild and transform their lives.  For more information, visit:

Media Contact(s):

Daniel Weyl
(312) 660-1670


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