Immigration Conversation: Mainstreet Hosts Keynote Speaker David Zvernow from ICNA Relief at Affordable Housing Summit and Expo

Georgios Banquets, Orland Park – Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® hosted their annual Affordable Housing Summit and Expo, providing vital housing resources to attendees in coordination with celebrating Fair Housing Month. Keynote speakers and panelists discussed the challenges immigrants face in the continuous struggle to buy or rent housing in both Canada and the United States.

As of January 3, The Illinois Human Rights Act now includes immigration as a protected class which means it is “unlawful to discriminate against someone based on their immigration status when renting, buying or selling property.”

Mainstreet CEO John Gormley asked attendees at the Affordable Housing Summit and Expo a primer question: “As refugees and migrants work to establish new lives in our communities, how can we collectively address the urgent need for decent affordable housing for people to build a fresh start?”

David Zverow is the Chairman of the Refugee Action Network Housing Committee and works for ICNA Relief. He took the podium to help answer that question. Mr. Zverow can trace his family lineage back 120 years to the Soviet Union when they came to the United States. For the past 50 years he has worked as a social worker. Over the last 15 years he has specifically dedicated his efforts towards helping immigrants from all over the world socially, emotionally and financially.  

Mr. Zverow stated that “as of the end of 2021, ~89 million refugees worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their home countries due to starvation, religious prosecution, terrorism, human rights violations, violence and political unrest.”

In the United States, refugee agencies are overwhelmed with trying to locate housing placements for families coming to America. So much so that refugee agencies suffer from insufficient housing options. Given funding for a mere three months, the task and its parameters are nearly impossible to achieve without the help of other organizations.

The alternatives for these immigrant families are paying for hotel rooms, motel rooms, AirBnB’s and overcrowding rental properties. Millions are forced to live in refugee camps.

Only 1% of families leave a refugee camp to live in a permanent home. Majority of families who join a refugee camp will never see home, new or old, again.  

Access the slideshow containing refugee resources, relocation agencies, immigration status requirements, immigration demographic statistics and more from David Zverow, Click here.

To access our Affordable Housing resource page, click here.

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