Info & Resources

NGO Profile: Family Unification Resettlement Initiative (FURI)

Written by Staff Writer

Family Unification Resettlement Initiative (FURI) is an innovative 501-C– 3, not-for-profit corporation, that was founded by Carmeta Albarus-Lindo, LCSW; forensic social worker with almost twenty (20) years experience working within the criminal justice system in the United States.. Based on her work on behalf of immigrant clients, Ms. Albarus-Lindo saw the need for the kind of services that can help such clients adjust positively to deportation. Given her Jamaican roots, Ms. Albarus-Lindo was concerned primarily about the impact of deportation
on Jamaican nationals as well as the impact that these displaced returnees can have on Jamaica’s development. For these reasons she was inspired to start FURI , so as to help returnees plan for a better tomorrow by focusing on the need to improve their own lives as well as the need to contribute to the development of their home countries.
FURI’s objective is to offer alternatives that can foster faith, hope, and confidence that life can be worthwhile. FURI with the help of government agencies and concerned individuals, aims to provide reintegration assistance in the following ways:

  • Living accommodations and meals.
  • Employment counseling and training.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse counseling.
  • Self-esteem and peer development assistance.
  • Vocational training.
  • Assistance in locating and reestablishing family connections.
  • Liaison between the deportees and family connections in the United States.

FURI-Jamaica, a division of FURI was recently established and has opened an office in Kingston. (Kingston Resettlement Center or KRC) This will allow us to expand on the services that were offered through the Salvation Army by providing accommodation for up to thirty (30) people. While our focus has been on the accommodation of nonviolent males each case will be looked at individually and as more funds are allocated we hope to provide accommodations for women as well. Residents sponsored by FURI will receive accommodations, meals, vocational training, as well as individual and group counseling for nine (9) to twelve (12) months. Prior to leaving the program each returnee will be provided with skills to establish them as productive citizens. These skills include plumbing, woodwork, craft, masonry, welding, auto mechanic, computer technology. FURI will soon be extending its vocational training through a partnership with Jamaica’s Heart Trust. The new partnership will let FURI provide new vocational training options to returnees including women. These new programs range from “barefoot” architecture and pattern making to secretary, as well as furniture manufacturer. FURI plans to work closely with the Jamaica Agricultural Society to establish a working farming village composed of five to ten acres. The farm will provide returnees with a residential base. The agricultural community will also have a processing unit and packaging facility. All structures on the farming village are planned to be green buildings. Additionally, consideration is being given to open a local health clinic to be utilized by area residents, as well as “returnees.” FURI plans to be an integral part of the Jamaican national community, both as an advocate for returnees, and a leader in sustainable community development. FURI’s holistic approach seeks to find balance for the returnee as a function within the community and environmental context.

Support from Within
Inmates that will be deported are also looking at ways in which they can be successfully reintegrated in their home countries. Members of the Caribbean African Unity (CAU) a prison-based not-for-profit organization that was founded in 1986, has taken an interest in the deportation issue as it relates to deportations for Caribbean nationals from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The group has fostered an advocacy movement and endorsed the FURI inside the prison system and made monetary contributions. Although a prison-based group, the CAU has brought attention to the potential dire effects of deportation on the Caribbean as a whole. Many CAU members who have reached out to FURI, have indicated a desire for productive living and nation building and are hopeful that they will be provided with the tools and opportunity to be contributing members of society. In an attempt to address the societal concerns surrounding the deportation issue CAU, through the seminars that they host, is striving to bring about positive change where it matters most— in the prisoners who will be deported tomorrow.

FURI—Auxiliary Resettlement Services
In the Fall of 2006, FURI began to provide Auxiliary Resettlement Services (ARS). FURI-ARS provides additional support for returnees and their families. ARS returnee recipients are those with family connections in Jamaica, or availability of long-term housing. ARS also provides important services to spouses, children, and other relatives of the returnee. ARS services range from assisting with relocation and securing real estate in Jamaica, to providing individual and group therapy, as well as job training. FURI-ARS is Jamaica’s leading returnee support network.

Contact FURI

FURI—New York
144 West 127th Street
New York, New York, 10027
Phone: 646-698-2172/4
Facsimile: 646-698-2184
[email protected]

FURI—Jamaica
171 Windward Road
Kingston, Jamaica
876 930-0359
876 2793283.
[email protected]

 

FURI Supporters

CVA Consulting Services
144 West 127th Street
New York, New York, 10027

The Carib News
15 West 29th Street
New York, New York, 10018
Quality Associates
1150 B Grand Concourse
Bronx, New York, 10458

Social Service Organizations Providing Assistance to Returnees

Cornerstone Ministries—Prison Fellowship
12-14 Locket Avenue
Kingston 14
(876) 922-2682

Department of Correctional Services
5-7 King Street
Kingston 7
(876) 929-2997

Food for the Poor
Spanish Town
St. Catherine
(876) 984-7530/1

Hope for Jamaica
I National Heroes Circle
St. Catherine
(876) 984-7530/1

Land of My Birth
12-14 Locket Avenue
Kingston 14
(876) 418-0457

Operation Friendship, Ltd.
2C East Bell Road
Kingston 11
(876) 923-8933

The Salvation Army
53 Lyndhurst Rd.
Kingston 5
(876) 908-0389

Stella Maris Foundation
62 Shortwood Road
Kingston 8
(876) 941-2000

About the author

Staff Writer