Refugee and Entrant Assistance Wilson/Fish Program


To develop alternative projects that promote early employment of refugees, certain Amerasians from Vietnam, Cuban and Haitian entrants, asylees, victims of a severe form of trafficking, and Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrants. The purpose of the Wilson-Fish program is to provide innovative approaches to integrated cash and medical assistance and/or services (employment, case management, English language instruction, and other social services) otherwise-available through the State-administered program, in order to increase refugees' prospects for early employment and self-sufficiency, reduce their level of welfare dependence, and promote coordination among service providers.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Administration For Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2016 In FY 2016, it is expected that 13 Awards will be made. In FY 2016, 13 Awards were issued.
Fiscal Year 2017 In FY 2017, 13 awards were issued.
Fiscal Year 2018 In FY 2018, 13 awards were issued.
Fiscal Year 2019 In FY 2019, it is expected that 13 awards will be issued.
Fiscal Year 2020 In FY 2020, it is expected that 16 awards will be issued.
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, Public Law 110-161, Statute 121,2212
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Public Law 106-386
Refugee Act of 1980, Section 412, Public Law 96-212, 8 U.S.C. 1522, Statute 94,111
Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1982, Title V, Public Law 96-422, 8 U.S.C. 1522, Statute 94,1809
Defense Authorization Act, 2008, Public Law 110-181, Statute 122,398
Public Law -98-473, H.J.Res.648 - A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year 1985, and for other purposes.
No separate funding is appropriated for Wilson-Fish projects. Funds are drawn instead from funds earmarked for refugee cash and medical assistance grants and refugee support services allocations for the State-administered program (93.566) according to ORR projections.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
For the FY2015/2019 project period, Wilson-Fish has been open only to those agencies administering a Wilson-Fish project as of the initial funding announcement for the project period. FY 2015-FY2019 Wilson-Fish recepients include States, voluntary resettlement agencies (local and national), and a private non-profit agency, which fall into two categories. (1) Nine projects currently maintain a refugee program in a state where the State is not participating in the refugee program or has withdrawn from the refugee program or a portion of the program (Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee). (2) Four projects currently provide an alternative to the existing system of assistance and services to refugees (Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, and San Diego). For the project period beginning in FY2020, States (including District of Columbia), and private nonprofit institutions/organizations (including institutions of higher education and hospitals) will be eligible to apply for Wilson-Fish funding.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Refugees, certain Amerasian immigrants from Vietnam, Cuban/Haitian entrants, asylees, victims of a severe of trafficking, and Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrants are eligible for services and assistance through funded projects in a community. Cash assistance is transitional for up to 8 months; services may be provided for up to five years.
For beneficiaries, proof of immigration status or a certification or eligibility letter issued by HHS/ORR for victims of a severe form of trafficking.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. For the current project period of September 30,2015 through September 29, 2019, awards are granted through a sole source process, through which ORR provided awards to the same grantees for a 4-year project period with 12-month budget periods based on the requirements outlined in the Wilson-Fish program guidelines. The grantees were required to submit applications for noncompetitive awards in the subsequent years during the project period. For the upcoming FY2020 project period, ORR will publish a competitive discretionary Funding Opportunity Announcement on These and future awards will be based on the grantee's performance, the availability of funds, and the best interest of the Federal Government.
Award Procedure
ORR requires that appropriate proposals and applications are submitted and that a determination is made that the grantees are the ones that can "best perform" the services in accordance with 8 U.S.C. SS 1522(a)(4)(A). Applications are reviewed by an independent panel comprised of three reviewers and one chairperson. After the applications are evaluated pursuant to criteria specified in the Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement makes final funding decisions, and grant awards are issued.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
From 60 to 90 days.
There is no appeal process for unsuccessful applicants. For existing recipients, appeals in regards to disputes may take place in accordance with 45 CFR Part 16, subject to the limitations of the Appendix A.
Contingent upon funding availability, grantee performance, and the best interest of the government.
How are proposals selected?
The criteria for selecting proposals will be published in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.
How may assistance be used?
To be eligible for Wilson-Fish funding grantees must ensure refugees meet all requirements of 45 C.F.R. 400.43, "Requirements for documentation of refugee status." Eligibility for refugee program services and assistance also includes: certain Amerasians from Vietnam, asylees, Cuban and Haitian entrants, victims of severe forms of trafficking, and Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrants. The scope of services available to refugees from Wilson-Fish grantees is similar to that of the State-Administered Refugee Resettlement Programs, which in turn is similar to regular domestic public assistance programs.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: During monitoring visits, a representative collection of case files are reviewed to ensure clients are receiving appropriate services. Specifically, ORR reviews client legal, financial, categorical, and time eligibility; the family self-sufficiency plan; receipt of cash and, if applicable, medical assistance; case management; and employment services and outcomes. ORR also interviews agency staff and clients to ensure that information gleaned from the case-file, agency staff and clients corroborates with one another. In addition to program monitoring, quarterly performance reports, Federal Financial Reports (ORR-2), and annual goal plans are reviewed to ensure Wilson Fish agencies are spending funds appropriately and are performing in a manner consistent with the approved application and cooperative agreement.
45 CFR Part 75 Subpart F applies to this program.
Grant recipients are required to keep all financial, business and program reports necessary for program review and audit for the project period in accordance with 45 CFR 75.361-5 to ensure that funds have been expended in accordance with the regulations, grant terms, and conditions of the program.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Funds are made available for this program for one-year budget periods. The project period is up to four years. Funds are awarded incrementally for each budget period. For the FY 2015-FY 2019 project period, if refugee arrivals and refugee cash and medical assistance recipients exceed those estimated at the time of application, a grantee can submit a request for supplemental funding to meet an unanticipated need for refugee cash and medical assistance. Incremental funding.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Colleen Mahar-Piersma
Mary E. Switzer Building, 330 C Street SW
Washington , DC 20201 US
Phone: 202-205-5266
Fax: 202-205-5888
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 18$14,907,877.00; FY 19 est $4,414,000.00; FY 20 est $8,891,442.00; FY 17$30,546,996.00; FY 16$32,000,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In FY 2018 awards ranged from $265,518 to $3,775,286
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
The Wilson-Fish Program is referenced in 45 CFR 400.69 and guidelines for FY 2015-FY 2019 can be found on the ORR website. A forecast about the project period beginning in FY2020 and the funding opportunity announcement will be published on All inquiries should be directed to the Contact listed below.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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