When you rent to a refugee, asylee or asylum seeker, you are making a huge difference in the life of a family who has endured great hardship. Your support is critical to helping them begin the path to a new life of dignity and self-sufficiency.

Newly arrived refugees face barriers to renting when property management screenings rely on documentation that refugees do not typically have access to. Although refugees do not have “usual documentation,” they can provide evidence of legal status, reliable income, and have agency support to help resolve any tenant-landlord issues that might arise.

The chart below lists typical screening criteria used by property management agencies and provides information about equivalent documentation that can be used to verify eligibility of refugees for housing.

Screening Criteria Usual Documentation Equivalent Refugee Documentation
Criminal History Criminal Background Check Refugees have been screened by the Department of Homeland Security prior to being admitted as a refugee. A I-94 card shows that an individual was admitted as a refugee and/or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) tells you that the holder has passed extensive background checks, are in the country legally, are legally authorized to work, and receive public benefits.
Ability to Pay Rent Income Verification Check While refugees arrive with no credit history and without employment, they are eligible for cash assistance when they arrive in the U.S. Cash assistance programs are designed to pay for housing costs for at least four months, and in some cases, up to eight months or until the family's earned income exceeds the income limit for continued assistance. Refugee Empowerment Center can provide you with a written estimate of assistance for each family.
Rental History Landlord Reference Although refugees do not have rental history inthe U.S., Refugee Empowerment Center can provide you with an agency contact who can assist with emergencies and help resolve tenant-landlord issues. REC has access to case managers, interpreters, volunteers and orientations to help acclimate to life in the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions

Refugees have fled religious, political, or ethnic persecution and have been granted legal resident status as refugees or status as parolees by the United States government. Refugees undergo a rigorous approval process before being allowed to come to the United States. 

Refugee Empowerment Center provides the deposit, pays application fees, and three to eight months rent (depending on an individuals grant type). REC also helps refugees set up utilities in their name and find employment. 

REC provides case management services to newly arrived refugees starting at the airport pick up. Initial services include housing, furnishings, food, clothing, community orientation, and help finding employment. 90% of our REC refugees are employed within the first 90 days of arrival

REC case workers and staff will be assisting refugees placed in your rental property. Staff is available to answer any questions and provide additional support to your property management staff.

Interested in Renting to Refugees?


Or call 402-554-0759

Christine Kramer
Housing Specialist

Email: christine@refugeeempowerment.com