Economic Empowerment

Expanding Asset Building Services (EABS)

SEARAC is one of three organizations that the Office of Refugee Resettlement selected to carry out an asset building project called the Expanding Asset Building Services (EABS) project.  We are working in collaboration with the Institute for Social and Economic Development (ISED), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) to:

  1. Increase the availability of financial education and other asset building services for refugee communities, whether provided by refugee service providers or other organizations.
  2. Increase the number of refugees who enroll in and achieve success in Individual Development Accounts (IDA) projects and other asset building services administered by refugee service providers and other organizations.
  3. Increase the number of refugee service providers who are Assets for Independence (AFI) grantees, as a means to increase their mainstream funding.

SEARAC’s role is to engage Southeast Asian community based organizations in learning about asset building opportunities for their community members, help build CBOs capacity to apply for asset building grants; and at the same time, create opportunities for refugees to access mainstream IDA programs. This project is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Office of Community Services.

Safety Net Programs - California

In 2009, Californians endured dramatic budget cuts to its safety-net programs to the tune of nearly $60 billion. Unfortunately, the California budget deficit continues to grow, and the risk of further cuts to assistance for low income families and elders is a concern to the Southeast Asian American community.  Cuts to programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/State Supplement Payment (SSP), Medi-Cal, the Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), and the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) exacerbate financial burdens and health risks to low-income families, many of whom are on fixed incomes and have no other means of sustenance. SEARAC advocates for:

  1. Limiting further cuts to health and human services programs that aid low-income, disabled and elder populations in upcoming budget cycles.
  2. Urging policy makers to work collaboratively with community based organizations to ensure that when cuts are unavoidable, programs are carefully amended to limit the negative effects on vulnerable beneficiaries like the disabled and elderly.