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Urgent need for temporary housing for refugees

Posted by | Catholic Charities Communications

Appeal goes out to Oregon property owners

One of Oregon’s leading refugee resettlement organizations is asking local property owners to consider offering spare rooms, available rental units, and homes for temporary housing.

Those with space to offer, please contact our housing coordinator, Jesse Crawford at Jcrawford@ccoregon.org or call 503-805-3563.

The situation has reached a crisis level, said Claudia Munoz, program director of Refugee Services for Catholic Charities.

“Public funding for short-term housing for refugees is running out, and we hope citizens of goodwill can step forward to help these brave people who have escaped danger,” Munoz said.

In the past, Catholic Charities has housed refugees in hotels, but federal funding has been limited to specific populations, and there is no longer government funding to cover those costs, Munoz explained.

The initiative is meant for single refugees or couples without children because traveling as a larger group means more money for deposits and a couple of months of rent. The federal government provides each refugee individual with only $1,375 to pay for housing and basic needs upon arrival, so for small groups, the money runs out fast, especially in Oregon.

Typically, temporary housing is needed for spans of three to six months.

Munoz is making the appeal to faith-based groups, landlords, Airbnb owners and even ordinary homeowners who have spare rooms.

In the past 12 months, Catholic Charities resettled 247 refugees. In the next year, the agency expects to resettle about 335 from places like the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Central America.

Those granted refugee status by federal authorities would face peril if returned to their homelands. The government asks agencies like Catholic Charities to resettle refugees. The process follows legal and proper channels established by Congress which include extensive background checks and medical screenings prior to arrival in the U.S.

Because the Portland area offers the bulk of services like health care and federal offices, the temporary housing should be in or near Portland, Munoz said. If one church or neighborhood could offer multiple rooms, that would be most effective.

“We could build little communities where refugees can learn to navigate a new culture and community in a safe space” Munoz said.

Refugees are given phones that include translation software and are adept at using technology to communicate and provided case management support for a minimum of 90-days after arriving in Portland.

Those with space to offer, please contact our housing coordinator, Jesse Crawford at Jcrawford@ccoregon.org or call 503-805-3563.

A young refugee plays a drum on the front steps of a house provided by neighbors in Portland. Catholic Charities is putting out a call for property owners in the Portland area who want to offer space for temporary housing of refugees. (Catholic Charities of Oregon)


A Southeast Portland Catholic Parish uses a spare home to house refugees.