Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program, a local affiliate of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services, provides core resettlement services to newly arrived refugee individuals and families. Once we receive notice of a family's approaching arrival, we must secure and furnish an apartment where they will begin their new life. Relying almost totally on donations of gently used items from community members and corporate donors, these first homes are furnished with minimal but comfortable belongings.
Case managers and sometimes already-established family members work with arriving refugees to complete critical tasks such as applying for Social Security cards and short-term benefits, receiving a medical screening and immunizations through Siloam Family Health Center, and enrolling adults in ESL and children in school.
Our diverse staff comes from at least 10 countries and speaks over 20 different languages, but we still depend heavily on volunteers to help clients with social and cultural adjustment. For some of our clients, everyday tasks such as navigating a city bus line, grocery shopping and cooking on a stove are completely new ventures. Our volunteers are invaluable in assisting with these lessons eventually leading to self-sufficiency.