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As a matter of national policy, the United States has long had a tradition of welcoming refugees of special humanitarian concern into the country for a process known as “refugee resettlement”.

Providing safe and affordable housing is the critical first step to welcoming those refugees when they arrive in the United States.

Many refugee families have experienced significant trauma and have not had a safe place to call their own for many years. 

Unfortunately –  in Middle Tennessee, and all across the United States, housing costs are skyrocketing. This has made finding long-term housing for refugees more difficult for resettlement agencies like NICE.

Upon first arrival to the US, refugee families do not have a credit score or employment history. While they do find employment quickly, many property management companies are not educated about what it means to have refugee status, and about the federally-guaranteed benefits that refugees receive that help them pay rent until they gain employment.

NICE works to educate property management companies and landlords about refugees’ legal benefits, and creates partnerships that allow families to sign leases in their own names.

Now, many locally-owned property management companies are being bought by larger corporations outside of Tennessee, and those important relationships and community ties get lost. Those corporations are less likely to be flexible on application requirements, and even though refugees are admitted into the United States through a federal program that has been run uninterrupted since 1980 by the US Department of State, there is often a lack of understanding about their protected legal status. When finding a long-term lease is delayed, the only option for refugee families is to stay in extended-stay hotels, and available funds quickly become depleted.

How can you help? NICE is looking for volunteers to work with our team to help find more housing for refugee families coming to Middle Tennessee. Together, we can ensure that refugees coming to Nashville are welcomed to their new community with a safe, affordable, and peaceful new home in which to start the next chapter of their lives.

You can fill out our volunteer application here:

Volunteer Application

You can also make a financial donation to support emergency housing expenses for newly-arrived refugee families here: 


If you have any questions, write to

New American families make our communities stronger and help Tennessee thrive. Thank you for being part of the welcoming movement.