Agency to Award Contracts Totaling $3.1 Million for Wraparound Supports

For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to build out an array of services to support refugees who now call Iowa home.

In late 2021 and early 2022, Iowa became home to more than 900 Afghan refugees. The number of refugees and the compressed timeframe was unprecedented. This shed light on challenges in Iowa's refugee resettlement process.

To address these challenges and better support refugees, the Bureau of Refugee Services (BRS) released a request-for-proposal in January seeking community partners to provide tools and resources to help refugees to become self-sustaining and productive Iowans through direct engagement with individuals and families.

BRS recently released the list of successful bidders in a notice of intent to award. The list includes 20 community and faith-based organizations that submitted proposals for this work in Iowa. The proposals selected for award total $3,193,138 and address four broad categories of services and supports.

Community Integration Services

Navigating everyday tasks can be frustrating for refugees new to the U.S. Community integration services help enhance refugees’ understanding of U.S. culture and how to obtain basic needs like paying a cell phone bill or finding the right bus route – which can be anxiety-inducing for someone who doesn’t know the system. Services in this area include English proficiency, digital literacy, financial and banking literacy, diet, nutrition, and transportation. These services are intended to strengthen refugees and their communities by providing services and supports to achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency and family stability.

Services to Older Refugees

Older refugees want the same quality of life, health, wellbeing, and independence as non-refugees. These services aim to increase integration and independent living for older refugees. Services include case management, education on support services like diet and nutrition, meal delivery, home care, transportation, and other services. Refugees may also be eligible for education and assistance with applying for U.S. citizenship.

Youth Refugee Services and Supports

These services include activities and opportunities to promote social and life skills, engagement with other youth through information and education on U.S. culture, English and math literacy, academic support for managing homework and other school requirements, and financial literacy. Services also include career support like resume writing and interview coaching. Services are available to refugees under 18.

Startup Services

To support and promote small organizations that provide services to refugees, funding is available to enhance employee skills in the areas of leadership, grant writing, and grant reporting.  Eight of the 20 providers requested start-up funding to help build their organization to better meet the needs of refugees in Iowa.

“We’re looking forward to working with these partner organizations to continue building out supports for Iowa refugees,” said Matt Highland, chief of the Division of Strategic Operations. “Not only will these services and supports benefit the refugees who are already here, they will help guide future refugee resettlement efforts so every refugee who comes to Iowa in the near and distant future will benefit from these programs.”   

“We couldn’t be more excited for these efforts and are looking forward to all the great work happening across the state,” said Mak Suceska, state refugee coordinator and bureau chief of Refugee Services. “Supporting Iowa’s refugee resettlement network through this initiative will bring much needed resources and tools to our community partners statewide. Most importantly, refugees will receive the level of support needed for their successful integration into their new communities.”

HHS will begin working with the selected organizations over the next few months to develop contracts and workplans for each proposal. Contracts and services are expected to begin July 1.

You can view the request for proposal and the notice of intent to award, including the list of selected organizations at

Media Contact:
Alex Carfrae,