I’m thrilled when the media reveals little known facts about real issues affecting Americans. Forbes recently quoted Rebecca Armstrong, LIRS Director for Higher, and featured Khem Subedi, a refugee resettled by LIRS, in an article that describes the complex financial landscape refugees face.
In “New U.S. Citizens Navigate a Complex Financial Landscape,” reporter Judy Martel describes Subedi’s transition to the United States. “What I have seen is that a lot of people face problems—with communication, housing, employment, health care, and integration into American society,” Subedi tells Martel. “But we try to solve problems one at a time.” Armstrong builds on that, explaining that with mentoring, new Americans can overcome financial challenges.
Community-based financial literacy and mentorship programs can provide an alternative to what are essentially wealth-stripping practices, Armstrong noted. Most communities offer financial literacy classes and workshops as well as English lessons, but more of them need to be concentrated in areas where new citizens live, she noted. In addition, first-time homebuyer assistance programs have helped introduce new citizens to financial institutions and solidified a commitment to the community.
A commitment to frugality, a vision for the future, and drive to become entrepreneurs are common wealth-building characteristics among new citizens, said Armstrong. LIRS attempts to preserve and encourage these habits and principles, primarily through its network with other support organizations throughout the country and the mentorship program that taps into the knowledge gained by other new citizens.
We’re grateful to Martel and Forbes for bringing these challenges into the spotlight. Click here to learn more about Higher, and here if this post motivates you help new Americans navigate their financial landscape.