Refugee Resettlement

Since the 1940s, Catholic Charities has provided Refugee Resettlement services in the Portland area. Through its Resettlement Program, Catholic Charities assists individuals and families that must leave their home lands due to a fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinions. Refugees come from all parts of the world.

The Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program works to ensure that refugees are properly resettled and adjusted to their new home in Portland. The newly arriving refugee families are greeted at the airport. From the moment of arrival, program staff members work to meet basic needs, including shelter, furnishings, food, and clothing. Case Managers also facilitate referrals to other service providers and assist in enrolling refugee students in school. A community orientation is provided, including information on personal safety and public rules and issues.

Helping Newcomers Succeed

A Liberian family of eleven arrived in Portland after spending ten years in a refugee camp in Ghana. The family has now been in the United States for five years and has applied for citizenship. They have successfully integrated into society and have recently purchased their first home. The family has expressed appreciation for all that Catholic Charities has done. This is just one of many success stories of the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program.

You Can Help

You can provide help and hope to newcomers by volunteering to provide transportation to necessary appointments, by becoming an ESL tutor (English as a Second Language), or by helping to assist the Refugee Resettlement staff in collecting donations and helping to set up and furnish apartments for newly arriving refugees. You can also help by making monetary and in-kind donations to the Refugee Resettlement Program.

**Current volunteer need: Family Mentor/ESL Tutors for Bhutanese, Burmese, Afghani and Congolese Refugees: The Refugee Resettlement program of Catholic Charities is currently looking for volunteers who would like to assist refugee families in their transition into life in Portland. Family mentorship could include: cultural/community orientation, assistance in learning about household management/budgeting, and fun outings to places like the Gorge, etc. We are also looking for English as a second language tutors. No prior tutoring experience is necessary, although it is most welcome. Please contact Jeanne Toal at (503) 688-2683 or if you are interested. Check out the Refugee Resettlement Volunteers page on Facebook.

Wish List:

  • Twin mattress and box spring
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Teapot/kettle
  • Serving platter
  • Mixing/serving bowls
  • Blankets
  • Welcome mat
  • Vacuum
  • Clock
  • Radio/stereo
  • Lamps

For more information about the program, contact:

Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie
Refugee Resettlement Program Manager
(503) 688-2688


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