Refugee and Entrant Assistance Wilson/Fish Program

To develop alternative projects which promote early employment of refugees, certain Amerasians from Viet Nam, Cuban and Haitian entrants, asylees, certified victims of a severe form of trafficking, and special immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wilson-Fish grantees may develop innovative approaches
for the provision of refugee cash and medical assistance, otherwise available through the State-administered program.

The purpose of the Wilson-Fish program is to provide integrated assistance (cash and medical) and services (employment, case management, English as a Second Language/ESL and other social services) in order to increase refugees' prospects for early employment and self-sufficiency, reduce their level of welfare dependence, and promote coordination among services providers.

Additionally, the Wilson-Fish program enables refugee assistance programs to exist in every State where refugees are resettled.

Wilson-Fish projects comprise two types of projects.

(1) Nine projects currently establish or maintain a refugee program in a State where the State is not participating in the refugee program or has withdrawn from the refugee program or a portion of the program.

(Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee).

(2) Four projects currently provide an alternative to the existing system of assistance and services to refugees (Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont and San Diego).

Agency - Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the Federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially to those who are least able to help themselves.

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Catholic Charities, Diocese Of San Diego $ 17,573,895   2005-09-302010-09-29
Refugees & Immigrants, Massachusetts Office For $ 6,633,042   2005-09-302010-09-29
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: In FY 2016, 13 Awards were issued. Fiscal Year 2017: In FY 2017, it is expected that 13 Awards will be issued. Fiscal Year 2018: In FY 2018, it is expected that 13 Awards will be issued.

Uses and Use Restrictions

To be eligible for Wilson-Fish funded programs and services, grantees must ensure refugees meet all requirements of 45 C.F.R.

400.43, 'Requirements for documentation of refugee status'.

Eligibility for refugee program services and assistance also includes: Asylees, Cuban Haitian Entrants; Certain Amerasians from Vietnam; Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking; Special Immigrant Visa Holders.

The scope of services available to refugees from Wilson-Fish grantees is similar to that of the State-Administered Refugee Resettlement Programs, which in turn is similar to regular domestic public assistance programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Beginning in FY2015/2016, funding under this program is open only to those agencies that currently administer a Wilson-Fish program.

ORR requires that appropriate proposals and applications are submitted and that a determination is made that the grantees are the ones that can ?best perform? the services in accordance with 8 U.S.C.

§ 1522(a)(4)(A).

Wilson-Fish grantees include States, voluntary resettlement agencies (local and national), and a private non-profit agency that oversees a local voluntary resettlement agency administer 12 state-wide Wilson-Fish programs in the following States: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Vermont, plus one county-wide program in San Diego County, California.

No separate funding is appropriated for Wilson-Fish demonstration projects.

Funds are drawn instead from funds earmarked for refugee cash and medical assistance grants and social services allocations for the State-administered program (93.566) according to ORR projections.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Refugees, certain Amerasian immigrants, Cuban/Haitian entrants, asylees, victims of a severe of trafficking, and Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrants are eligible for services and assistance through funded projects in a community. Cash assistance is transitional for up to 8 months; services may be provided for up to five years.


Proof of immigration status or a certification or eligibility letter issued by HHS/ORR for victims of a severe form of trafficking. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is required.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Awards are granted through a sole source process, as specified in the program announcements. Each agency desiring to respond to a program announcement is required to submit an application. Applications are reviewed and evaluated pursuant to criteria specified in the program announcement. It is expected that ORR will continue to provide awards to the same grantees for a 4-year project period with 12-month budget periods. The grantees will be required to submit applications for noncompetitive awards in the subsequent years during the project period. Future awards will be based on the grantee?s performance, the availability of funds, and the best interest of the Federal Government.

Award Procedures

Eligible applicants submit an application to HHS. Subsequent to review by ORR, the Director of ORR makes the funding decision on all grant awards.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Refugee Act of 1980, Section 412, Public Law 96-212, 94 Stat. 111, 8 U.S.C 1522; Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1982, Title V, Public Law 96-422, 94 Stat. 1809, 8 U.S.C 1522; Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, Public Law 110-161, 121 Stat. 2212; Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 , Public Law 106-386; Defense Authorization Act, 2008, Public Law 110-181, 122 Stat. 398.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 60 to 90 days.


Not Applicable.


Contingent upon funding availability, grantee performance, and the best interest of the government.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Funds are made available for this program for one-year budget period. The project period is up to four years. Funds are awarded incrementally within each budget period. If refugee arrivals and refugee cash and medical assistance recipients exceed those that were estimated at the time of application, a grantee can submit a request for supplemental funding to meet the unanticipated need for refugee cash and medical assistance. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Incremental funding.

Post Assistance Requirements


Program Performance reports summarizing the activities and accomplishments of the project in relation to the approved goals and objectives are required every four months.

Cash reports are not applicable.

No progress reports are required.

Financial reports are required on a quarterly basis.

During the monitoring visits, a representative collection of case files are reviewed to ensure clients are receiving appropriate services.

Specifically, the ORR WF team reviews client, legal, financial, categorical and time eligibility, the Family self-sufficiency plan, receipt of cash and if applicable medical assistance, case management and employment service and outcomes.

Also the ORR WF team interviews agency staff and clients to ensure that information gleaned from the case-file, agency staff and clients corroborates with one another.

In addition to program monitoring quarterly performance reports, Federal Financial Reports (ORR-2) and Annual goal plans are reviewed to ensure W-F agencies are spending funds appropriately and are performing in a manner consistent with the approved application and cooperative agreement.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


Grant recipients are required to keep all financial, business and program reports necessary for program review and audit for the project period and for 3 years following the end of the project period to ensure that funds have been expended in accordance with the regulations, grant terms, and conditions of the program.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Cooperative Agreements) FY 16 $32,000,000; FY 17 est $42,500,000; and FY 18 est $20,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Awards range from $414,037 to $8,299,523.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The Wilson-Fish Program guidelines can be found on the ORR website. All inquiries should be directed to the Information Contacts listed below.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

Colleen Mahar-Piersma Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C Street SW,, Washington , District of Columbia 20201 Email: Phone: 202-205-5266 Fax: 202-205-5888

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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