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Multilingual housing guide to help Indiana immigrants



Indianapolis, Indiana – As Indiana’s expanding immigrant population is impacted by the housing issue, two organizations are working together to make the application process less difficult.

All new immigrants, especially those who don’t already have relatives or a sponsor here, are likely to experience housing insecurity, according to members of the Immigrant Welcome Center. It gets more difficult when you add missing identity and documents.

One of the most popular resources sought for by immigrants in Indiana is housing. When you account for lost documentation and communication difficulties, the problem that is prevalent throughout the state is intensified much more among communities of undocumented people.

“In order to lease an apartment or house, the first thing you’re asked for is the Social Security number. So if you don’t have one, the door has already been shut,” said Mistie Rivas, who works with the Immigrant Welcome Center.

Nearly 6,000 immigrants from 45 different countries and 30 different languages received support from the organization last year, and their dedication to doing so is unwavering.

“A lot of the people who are fleeing for their lives come to the United States empty-handed with nothing but the clothes on their backs,” Rivas said.

They’ve launched a bilingual resource for immigrant families in several languages, describing alternate documents that can be utilized in the housing application process, in collaboration with the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

An essential tool because many families escaping violence left behind documents that were stolen or lost.

“An example would be proof of identity. An undocumented immigrant can’t obtain a state ID in Indiana. So an alternative would be to allow immigrants to show identity through a passport of country of origin. Or in Indianapolis, we have the Mexican consulate,” Rivas said.

There is also a guidance for landlords and property managers that explains what other documents are acceptable in addition to this one.

“It is incredibly important for us to continue to advocate for the most vulnerable populations,” Rivas said.


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