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Shelter for asylum seekers is denied federal funding | 4 ways you can take action


"Freedom House has been a key partner with the University of Michigan's Asylum Clinic since its inception in 2013. Our partnership has been fruitful for both asylum seekers applying for legal status and for furthering humanistic medical education. Freedom House lawyers have directly contributed to medical student education through lunch talks and yearly asylum training sessions. Moreover, a majority of the forensic evaluations at our clinic are for Freedom House residents. As part of our Patient History Project, Medical Students volunteered at Freedom House throughout the year to document medical histories in an EMR for residents, which not only served as a way for medical students to learn how to take challenging medical histories from patients who have experienced trauma, but facilitated the process of asylum seekers navigating the US health care system by sparing them the added strain of having to recount their past trauma at every medical encounter. This project is now no longer running due to the decreased funding. We have seen countless people benefit from Freedom House. Our clients have described it as a place they can finally feel safe and supported since fleeing their home countries. I've heard countless statements from residents on how workshops that Freedom House runs have helped them to socially adjust to a new life in America." -- Anne Phan-Huy, Co-chair for the Asylum Committee on the Student Advisory Board and third year medical student at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Freedom House is a Detroit-based shelter for asylum-seekers from around the world who are fleeing political, religious, or other persecution or abuse in their home countries. It is the only of its kind in the US. Freedom House provides residents with a full suite of social, legal, and medical services along the journey towards asylum. After over three decades of providing housing and comprehensive services to asylum seekers, Freedom House was denied funding by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) due to a change in funding priorities.

For the past five years, 93% of residents exit Freedom House into permanent housing without subsidies, and an exceptional 86% of residents were granted asylum at the first interview. These outcomes clearly align with HUD's goal to eliminate homelessness, and it is heartbreaking that asylum seekers and refugees are no longer viewed as a priority for HUD funding.

As friends and allies of Freedom House, we are calling on our friends and colleagues to help us take action to secure Freedom House’s funding so that they can maintain operation.

Here are four simple action steps you can take:

1. Contribute to their crowdfunding campaign to help them reach their goal of $100K

2. Other avenues for cash donations:

B. Text FREEDOM83 to 41444

C. Checks to be made out to "Freedom House" and sent to

2630 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48216

3. In-kind donations (contact FH directly to coordinate)

Supplies: household, cleaning, health & beauty, office

Gift cards

4. Distribute this message:

A. Through asylum- and refugee-related network list serves

B. Posts on personal or organizational websites, blogs, and social media

If you have any additional suggestions or comments, please contact Deb Drennan, Freedom House Executive Director, at

We encourage all students to reach out to shelters in their communities and offer support as it is currently unclear whether defunding of immigration/asylum services is becoming an overall trend.

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