About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 317 million people live in the United States
3.5 million people experienece homelessness in any given year
More than 1 in 4 of children in the U.S. live in poverty
(Source: National Coalition for the Homeless and U.S. government)
Poverty isn’t a foreign phenomenon—it exists right here among our neighbors in every corner of the United States.
More than 46 million Americans—including 16 million children—live in poverty. That’s about 15% of the population, or one in seven people. For children, that number is one in four. These rates are significantly higher in minority communities. And, within the United States, 3.5 million people experience homelessness in any given year.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should serve his neighbor generously …” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic Relief USA’s domestic programs aim to alleviate poverty in the U.S. IRUSA also provides grants for many organizations and sponsors annual events that provide support to local populations.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in United States:
Islamic Relief USA accepts Zakah donations and distributes them according to Islamic principles to people in need. We work with active mosques and community organizations around the country to identify people who qualify for help and distribute the assistance. Recipients include low-income families, refugees, and survivors of domestic violence. The Zakah donations cover expenses such as rent assistance, emergency medical expenses, employment training, food vouchers, utilities, and other emergency needs.
FOOD SERVICES AND UDHIYAH/QURBANI
IRUSA provides food assistance by operating and supporting food pantries under the Giving Grain Food Network. The number of food pantries we support more than doubled this year, to seven, including IRUSA’s own food pantry in Washington, D.C. IRUSA also worked in recent years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide meals in summer for low-income children who rely on school for meals—that program has since been completed. IRUSA also distributes Udhiyah/Qurbani rations in various cities around the country during the Eid al-Adha season.
IRUSA assists refugees in starting their new life in the United States. Volunteers are trained to welcome refugee families to their new communities, help them access local services, and show them around their new communities. Volunteers also can help with resume building and job searches. In some instances, refugees may receive rent assistance so they have a place to stay while looking for employment.
FINANCIAL SELF-SUFFICIENCY PROGRAMS
Beyond assisting in emergencies, Islamic Relief USA aims to help people achieve a sustainable, secure livelihood so they can live in dignity without having to rely on others. IRUSA’s Pathways program teaches participants in the Washington, D.C., area to manage their finances and helps them save toward major goals.
Participants identify a financial goal, such as making a down payment on a home, attending college, or starting a business. IRUSA partner Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB) teaches money management courses and offers financial coaching and credit counseling. When the classes are complete and the participants meet their goal, IRUSA matches their savings, as does CAAB, so the savings are tripled.
IRUSA also supports financial programs that specifically help refugees with education, financial literacy, and zero-interest microfinance loans.
Islamic Relief USA supports two clinics that offer free health care in their communities:
- HUDA Clinic in Detroit
- The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) clinic in Chicago
Both clinics serve low-income residents of all faiths, providing care they could not otherwise access. This service is deeply appreciated in their communities. The IMAN clinic was named as best affordable medical care in Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago” edition for 2014.
Islamic Relief USA is helping Global Deaf Muslims to provide sign-language interpreters at mosques and Islamic events to improve accessibility for deaf Muslims. This project also advances Islamic education for deaf Muslims worldwide.
IRUSA is also providing tuition assistance for students in a distance-learning program for Islamic studies and Arabic language at American Open University. Students who complete the program typically go on to work in teaching, da’wah or imam positions.
One in four women in America has suffered or will suffer domestic violence, and one in seven men will be a victim. Domestic violence happens in families regardless of religion, background and economic status. Islamic Relief USA works to counter it by supporting several programs for both Muslims and the general public. Services include case management, counseling, education, and placement of Muslim children who are victims of domestic violence in Muslim foster families. IRUSA also trains imams to identify, stop and prevent domestic violence in their communities.
PROJECTS TO HELP HOMELESS NEIGHBORS
Islamic Relief USA has cared for our homeless neighbors for more than a decade through Day of Dignity events as well as other projects.
Day of Dignity
IRUSA joins with partner organizations to provide food and items like hygiene kits and winter coats at Day of Dignity events around the country every year. These events also offer health screenings and assistance accessing local services. This year, Day of Dignity came to 16 cities from coast to coast.
Preventing Homelessness and Caring for the Homeless
In Las Vegas, IRUSA helps Al-Maun connects families with a variety of services that can help them learn to improve their financial situation and stay in their homes. For women who have had to leave their homes in the Baltimore area, IRUSA supports the Al-Mumtahinah Home, which offers them somewhere to stay and helps them apply for a job and plan their finances. In California, IRUSA homeless families settle into stable housing by covering up-front housing costs so they can focus on making rent payments, and helping them through the transition.
Islamic Relief USA maintains a Disaster Assistance Relief Team that assists in emergency situations around the country. IRUSA began providing this service in 2011 to give back to our communities in the United States. Since then, IRUSA has trained more than 1,000 volunteers in conjunction with FEMA and the American Red Cross, and training sessions continue to be offered. DART members have been in states across the country have been trained so that the local community is able to respond quickly and effectively in times of emergency. Learn more on IRUSA.org.
APPLY FOR COMMUNITY GRANTS
IRUSA provides grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the country, to provide access to quality health care; to promote sustainable socio-economic development; and to elevate the standard of living of those in need. You can apply by clicking the link above. Questions? Call 1-855-447-1001.