Wilson-Fish Alternative Refugee Resettlement Projects

Wilson-Fish Programs are refugee resettlement programs developed as an alternative to the State run programs outlined in the Refugee Act of 1980.  These alternatives allow a State and/or community to develop a refugee resettlement model that will provide better services and produce better outcomes for refugees, asylees, Cuban-Haitian Parolees, and other clients eligible for refugee type services.

Project Overview

ISED has provided technical assistance to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and its alternative program grantees since 1999. Currently, ISED uses a team of refugee resettlement/social work staff advisors and research/evaluation staff advisors to provide in-depth program evaluations of the Wilson-Fish Alternative Project sites and to develop materials and an annual training workshop for the funded projects.

ISED has developed the Wilson-Fish Policies, Systems, Procedures & Forms Manual which is available here.  Funded projects have rated this manual, the first complete body of work on implementation of an alternative project, as an excellent tool.

Click here to view the Wilson Fish Program Matrix for FY2009 highlighting the specific configurations for the 13 sites. Click here to view the W-F program contact sheet.
For more information, please contact Peggy Gilbert.

Profile of Beneficiaries

Wilson-Fish clients are in two categories.  In the first, the State implements the refugee resettlement program outside of the state welfare system by sub-contracting to resettlement agencies and other private organizations all elements of the resettlement program including refugee cash assistance.  The second category is fully privatized programs implemented by a local refugee resettlement agency when a State decides to cease State level participation in the resettlement program.

Project Activities

ISED works with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide technical assistance that includes the following:

  • On-site training and support for program implementation
  • Development of training and informational materials as needed
  • Participation with ORR in joint technical assistance/monitoring visits
  • Identification and design of data collection elements followed by the collection, compilation, analysis, and dissemination of information to ORR and its grantees
  • Designing and hosting an annual grantee workshop for training, sharing of ideas, and networking.


September 30, 2006 through September 29, 2012


Office of Refugee Resettlement

Project Manager

Peggy Moon Gilbert