Refugee & Immigrant Services

COVID-19 Resources for Immigrants and Refugees


Illinois Welcoming Center (IWC)

The Illinois Welcoming Center (IWC) is a comprehensive service center for the integration of immigrants and refugees in Illinois. The Illinois Welcoming Center's innovative model eliminates systemic barriers that immigrants may have in approaching state services.

IWC was launched in 2007 to model a state-operated one-stop human service center designed to help immigrants navigate state services and coordinate those state services with non-profit community social service. Over the years, the Welcoming Center program has expanded to include a community-based service model.

The goal of IWC's is to strengthen the overall human service delivery system for immigrants and refugees and build the capacity of immigrant and refugee communities.

The main features of Illinois Welcoming Centers:

  1. Welcoming Centers serve as one-stop human service centers that provide comprehensive and holistic case management and service coordination to immigrants and refugees in a linguistically, culturally sensitive manner.
  2. Welcoming Centers are familiar with benefits and services provided by state and federal agencies as well as social service agencies and connect individuals to appropriate services as needed through case management or referral.
  3. Welcoming Centers lead efforts to coordinate social services in their particular geographic location by creating Community Alliances. These Community Alliances consist of meetings with local service providers to address common challenges shared in the delivery of services to immigrants and refugee and to enhance service effectiveness and improve service coordination.
  4. Welcoming Centers host a variety of community education workshops to help immigrants and refugees learn about resources and information that can advance their successful integration and build the capacity of immigrant and refugee communities.

List of Agencies Serving Immigrants

New Americans Initiative (NAI)

NAI funds community-based organizations to provide citizenship services to eligible permanent residents to apply for citizenship through the U.S. naturalization process and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) administers this program through a network of community-based partner agencies.

NAI partners provide services targeted to low-income, Limited English Proficient (LEP) immigrants/refugee, seniors, women and youth with special needs.

Services provided a) Community education and outreach; b) English language classes for citizenship language test and Citizenship civic education classes; and d) Assistance, including legal guidance, with the U.S. citizenship or DACA application preparation/submission and interview process.

List of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Immigrant Family Resource Program (IFRP)

IFRP funds community-based organizations to provide assistance to low-income immigrants to access public benefits and link to appropriate human services. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) administers this program through a network of community-based partner agencies.

IFRP partners provide:

  1. Interpretation/translation services - Provide translation and interpretation services for LEP immigrants/refugees seeking to apply for, or in meeting requirements of public benefits such as TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, or childcare.
  2. Outreach and community education to educate the respective immigrant communities on public benefits and other human services.
  3. Case management services including: needs assessment, benefits screening, assistance with benefits application and linkages with appropriate IDHS offices.

List of Agencies Serving Immigrants

WIC and SNAP Outreach

The WIC and SNAP outreach programs seeks to assure that limited-English-proficient immigrants and refugees eligible for WIC and SNAP benefits can successfully access these programs administered by IDHS. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) administers this program through a network of community-based partner agencies.

Refugee Program

Since 1975 Illinois has resettled more than 123,644 refugees from more than 60 countries. The Refugee Program facilitates relocation and social service assistance to people who are victims of political and religious persecution that have been granted the legal right to rebuild their lives in the United States. Due to the diverse ethnic characteristics, the Refugee Program designed a unique social service program to provide specialized multi-lingual services.

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago administers this program through a network of community-based partner agencies.

The Refugee Program procures community-based services which include adjustment counseling, orientation, English as a Second Language, vocational training, job readiness, and job placement. Multi-lingual mental health services are provided for those refugees who experienced severe trauma and require therapy. Of a total of 9 program sites, 6 are in Chicago and 3 are outside Chicago city limits.

The Refugee Program also procures health screening services with local health care providers to ensure that newly-arrived refugees are provided with a complete health screening. The goal of the program is to prevent any public health problems resulting from lack of detection and treatment of communicable diseases.

Who can receive these services?

Services for these programs are extended to the following individuals:

  • Refugees; asylees, SIV holders, parolees, and
  • Low-income immigrants;
  • Limited English-proficient individuals

Illinois Immigrant Policy Project (IIPP)

The Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant services has produced a number of studies, including: Illinois Immigrants: Taxes Paid, Services Used; Citizenship Service Needs; New Immigrants and Refugees in Illinois; Public Aid and Illinois Immigrants; A Profile of 1990-95 Arrivals. Adjunct activities include the Immigrant and Refugee Health Task Force which produced "Building Linguistic and Cultural Competency: A Tool Kit for Managed Care." In FY' 03 IIPP released a series of four reports on the needs of immigrants concerning immigration law, labor, education, health, and human service issues. Recent reports issued in 2014 include Global Illinois, Bilingual Assistance needed for SNAP, Refugee and Managed Care.

Report on Illinois Low-Income Foreign-Born Population (pdf)

Know Your Rights and Resources for Immigrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers

Know Your Rights Brochure (pdf)

Public Charge Information

Public Charge Information Centers Contact List

Public Charge Fact Sheet - English (pdf)

Public Charge Fact Sheet - Spanish (pdf)

How to apply?

Use the DHS Office Locator to locate your local Family Community Resource Center or contact the Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services.

For more information contact:

Lilian Jiménez, Esq.
Associate Director
Office of Welcoming Centers for Refugee and Immigrant Services
Illinois Department of Human Services
401 S Clinton St, 4th Floor, Chicago IL, 60607
lilian.jimenez@illinois.gov