Langeloth Foundation Supports LIRS Work to Strengthen Community-based Alternatives to Immigration Detention

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lirslogothumb-100x100I’m excited to share the news that LIRS has been awarded a $50,000 planning grant from the Langeloth Foundation that will help to pave the way for strengthened community-based  alternatives to detention in the United States.

We’re grateful to the Langeloth Foundation for this grant, and we welcome the Foundation’s recognition of the far-reaching impact this project can have on families in our communities. By demonstrating, evaluating, and promoting a community-based model of alternatives to detention, LIRS can fundamentally change the immigration detention system with the help of partners like the Langeloth Foundation, our local service partners, and national advocacy allies.

This early, critical support from the Langeloth Foundation will help position this LIRS project for future success. In the long term, LIRS will be able to use data from our project evaluation to support advocacy efforts for the broader implementation of our model as a replacement for immigration detention.

As Scott Moyer, President of the Langeloth Foundation, tells us:

The Langeloth Foundation is proud to support this LIRS project to improve the health and well-being of immigrants impacted by detention and provide evidence for the effectiveness of community-based alternatives.

This project is directly aligned with the Langeloth Foundation’s core mission of promoting and supporting effective and creative programs, practices and policies related to healing from illness, accident, physical, social or emotional trauma, and extending the availability of programs that promote healing to underserved populations.

Immigration detention imposes complicated human costs through the lack of access to basic health care and the re-traumatization of particularly vulnerable people. Immigrants in detention lack quality, effective health care. To advance a safe and supportive alternative to detention, LIRS will demonstrate, evaluate, and promote community-based interventions to address the negative public health impacts of detention through community support.

The Langeloth Foundation grant will support six months of intensive planning in 2013-2014  to shape a measurable, sustainable, and effective project to be implemented through an aligned partner network. In this planning phase, LIRS will focus on 1) defining an evaluation framework, 2) strengthening network identity and capacity, and 3) developing internal infrastructure for the project.

The project is headquartered at LIRS in Baltimore, and encompasses input from partners in the seven hub communities of the LIRS Community Support Initiative. The initiative, a collaboration with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), provides community support services including legal representation, housing, and case management with partners in Austin/San Antonio, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Elizabeth, NJ/New York, NY; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Seattle/Tacoma, WA; and Tucson/Phoenix, AZ.

Liz Sweet, Director for Access to Justice, LIRS’s unit that promotes access to the justice system, immigration benefits, and legal protection to immigrants and refugees, has this to say about the grant:

The Langeloth Foundation’s grant for this project on community-based models of alternatives to detention takes us one step closer to our vision of an America where detention is not assumption, but a last resort, and where communities protect, embrace, and empower migrants and refugees.

The realization of LIRS’s commitment to evaluation is made possible in part by the Langeloth Foundation—we are extending the impact of the service we provide by gathering a body of evidence that will have an impact beyond the individual.

We’re excited to undertake this project with Langeloth Foundation support as we gear up for our 75th anniversary in 2014, a year in which we’ll mark many decades of welcoming refugees and migrants on behalf of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

This is a pivotal moment for our efforts to strengthen community-based alternatives to detention, and we’re especially grateful to the Langeloth Foundation for this support.

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