We believe in making a difference. Since 1933, Catholic Charities has provided comprehensive care and services for people in need so that their lives are improved and their dignity is honored. In partnership with volunteers, local businesses, partner agencies and local government, we reach 30,000 people every year with compassionate care. The power of our impact is felt throughout the community each day as we work tirelessly to break the cycle of poverty.
We address the immediate needs of our clients while supporting social changes that address the root causes of poverty and injustice. Through charitable works and justice advocacy – the primary demands of our faith identity – we empower those we serve to enjoy full participation in the community.
Each year, we work with individuals and families across more than 27 counties in the Pacific Northwest to provide the support they need to thrive in a dynamic and volatile world. From refugee resettlement to homeless and housing services, removal defense to trauma-informed counseling, the myriad of services provided by Catholic Charities, in partnership with donors, volunteers, and corporate and community leaders, provides relief to 20,000 men, women, and children every year.
In support of our agency staff of social workers, field experts, and support specialists, 443 of Catholic Charities’ 1,770 registered volunteers logged more than 14,000 hours in service to our clients. These crucial roles were responsible for supporting agency staff, providing financial coaching, tutoring, instructing ESL lessons, and picking up large donations, among many more, and contributed an in-kind value of $366,136 in service to people in need. As a result:
Edith, a school-age refugee from the DRC, got the help she needed to finish her homework on time;
Carrie, a woman transitioning out of homelessness, got a ride to her first dentist appointment in a decade; and
Michael, whose medical bills had pushed him into financial ruin, paid off $5,000 of debt.
One of our top contributing volunteers, Ann, logged an impressive 230 hours in service to Oregon’s refugee neighbors. With corporate volunteerism growing in our community, we are thankful to have the support of local businesses who are as interested in helping people in need as we are.
Across Oregon, 1,900 residents are living in affordable housing provided by Catholic Charities. Our 25 properties are making the transition out of housing instability easier and more sustainable for individuals and families alike. Supportive services provide the tools to ensure all residents receive the compassionate care they need to build safe, sustainable lives. Those services include academic enrichment programs for families, ESL instruction for new arrivals, family mentors, citizenship application assistance, and health promotion. For seniors, specific programming is provided on self-care and managing chronic illness. Of our 1,900 housing clients:
60% are female-headed households
40% are children
15% have a disability
10% are seniors
Supportive care means empowering residents to live active roles in the community, participate in case management, and, in many cases, self govern with other residents. We provide dignified housing resources for people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity across the state.
Kenton Women's Village
Kenton Women’s Village provides a safe, dignified, and compassionate temporary sanctuary for women seeking to transition into permanent housing. It is the goal of KWV that villagers transition to permanent housing with healthcare, income, self-determination, and connections to services and community.
Kenton Women’s Village was created with a Kenton neighborhood vote in the spring of 2017, and opened June 10, 2017. It exists through partnerships with local government, nonprofit, and educational institutions: Catholic Charities, City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the Village Coalition, Prosper Portland, Almar Contracting, Portland State University School of Architecture’s Center for Public Interest Design, Kenton Neighborhood Association, Catlin Gabel InvenTeam, and dozens of other community businesses, organizations, and individuals.
On June 13, 2018, the Kenton neighborhood voted 119 to 3 in favor of the village staying for up to one more year. This is the only tiny home village in Portland embraced and placed by its neighborhood. Click here to access the full impact report for Kenton Women’s Village.
Immigration Legal Services
Our legal services division works to protect, maintain, and unify individuals and families in need. Last year, that accounted for more than 6,693 hours of case management provided to 2,092 clients. Services provided to vulnerable migrants also include access to low-cost or pro bono legal services, which is used for removal defense, asylum applications, and other legal proceedings.
Consider Juan and his underage daughter coming to the U.S. in an attempt to escape extreme poverty and violence in Guatemala. On arrival at the southern border, he and his daughter were separated by ICE. Juan was referred to Catholic Charities, whose legal experts were able to have both of their asylum cases transferred to Portland. Because of this, Juan and his daughter were reunited after nearly two months apart.
The Center for Removal Defense, in conjunction with the ILS team, is one of Catholic Charities busiest programs and constitutes more than 40% of Catholic Charities’ program enrollment.
Save First Financial Wellness
According to a survey done by the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans do not have $400 in their savings to be able to weather an unexpected emergency expense. That means, at any time, nearly half of all Americans would be left financially vulnerable or devastated by something as innocuous as a blown out tire, sudden trip to the E.R., or a broken refrigerator. Save First, in partnership with local businesses and volunteers, is making it easier for people living at the margins to retain their financial independence.
When Alycia approached Save First, she was fighting just to stay financially afloat. She had been homeless, been in an abusive relationship, and was struggling to keep a consistent job. Along the way, she accumulated a massive amount of credit card debt that kept her dependent on government assistance. After participating in Save First’s IDA program and working closely with a financial coach, she got on the road to financial independence.
“My goal was to get a job so I could get off and stay off government assistance.”
Today, Alycia is working part-time and going to school to become a software developer.
There are thousands of people just like Alycia in our communities, living at the margins and wondering if financial independence is just a pipe dream. Save First’s comprehensive and dignified financial programs and coaching network is proving them wrong every day.
Catholic Charities is one of only three refugee resettlement agencies in the state of Oregon. From greeting individuals and families on arrival to placing them immediately into housing, we make sure Oregon’s newest neighbors are safe, supported, and given everything they need to become full participants in our community. We partner with a number of other secular and faith-based organizations to help refugees adjust to life in the U.S. To date, we have helped more than 10,000 refugees make Oregon their new home.
In addition to the 2,375 hours of service (an in-kind value of more than $60,000 annually) our volunteers dedicated to helping refugees get settled, improve their English, and run errands in the last year, Catholic Charities provided 3,427 hours of case management to new arrivals in the form of school enrollment and tutoring services (98.5 hours), services through the Preferred Communities Program (364.25 hours), and reception & placement services (2,964.75 hours). With intensive support, Catholic Charities is working to make sure Oregon’s newest neighbors are receiving essential services and a safe place to transition into our community.