Hello Neighbor Network Spotlight: Laura Thompson Osuri

Meet Laura Thompson Osuri: Hello Neighbor Partner and Founder of Homes Not Borders

April 23, 2020

When Laura Thompson Osuri founded Homes Not Borders, she had already been working in the refugee resettlement arena for several years leading National Community Church’s Refugee Care Agency. While working with Washington, D.C. resettlement agencies to help newly arrived families, Laura saw these families needed additional assistance in furnishing their new homes with everything from couches to washcloths. Laura and her team also saw first-hand how refugees, often with limited English skills, struggled to find employment. Combining these two needs—household furniture and employment opportunities—the team set up a workshop for refugees to create and refinish furniture.

Laura soon realized the agency needed a new, separate organization to continue to expand these programs and services for the local refugee community. Homes Not Borders was officially created in 2019, with Laura acting as the executive director. The organization provides newly arrived refugee and asylee families with furnishings and household items as they set up their new homes. Laura and her colleagues also arrange career mentorship with local professionals in a refugee’s career field. For those looking to develop new skills, Homes Not Borders created a six-week course to teach local refugees woodworking and furniture-making. The refugees are then able to sell their handiwork to help support their families.

Last year, Homes Not Borders welcomed 87 refugee families to the area, providing them with $140,000 worth of furniture and household goods.

Q&A

Your name:
Laura Thompson Osuri

Name of Your organization:
Homes Not Borders

Location of Your organization:
Washington, DC (Though, technically we are located about 2 miles from the DC border in Hyattsville, MD)

What communities does your organization serve?
Newly resettled refugees, SIVS and asylum seekers. And those that have been here for a few years as well.

What are you most excited for in 2020?
Starting our wood working program - finally! And working out partnerships to help our clients sell their items and earn an income. I’m also excited that I’m finally able to provide salaries for both me and my staff. We have a part time program manager now, so we can really start getting more done!

How has your organization benefited from the Hello Neighbor Network?
I love the connections and ideas that we have discussed when it comes to fundraising and local partnerships. The Hello Neighbor Network has also really helped us plan logistically, as Homes Not Borders is the newest of the bunch. It’s been great for me personally to share successes and challenges and see the similarities (and differences) between all the different regions.

  • national
  • network
  • partnership

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