Rochester Has Helped Over 15,000 Refugees Since 1972
Around the world today, there are over 80 million people who are displaced from their homes, 26 million of those with refugee status. They have been forced to flee from their native country due to violence, conflict, and persecution, leaving many displaced or in exile.
Refugees who have fled their homes usually have no hope for a peaceful return to their homeland. Many refugees have no choice but to remain for years - and sometimes decades - in refugee camps, living precarious and despondent lives.
Catholic Charities is proud to play a part in helping refugees pursue their dreams. Our Refugee Resettlement programs offer a broad set of services that help refugees make the most of the fresh opportunities available to them in the Rochester community who for more than 100 years have welcomed them with open arms.
Now more than ever, it is time for our community to collectively work together to create a welcoming and inviting new home, providing a helping hand so that refugees, too, can find peace.
What the Program Offers
Our Refugee Resettlement Program provides intensive case management for newly arrived refugees from the date of their arrival through their first 90 days in country. Basic resettlement services include:
- Airport Reception
- Assistance securing safe, sanitary, and affordable housing
- Support for necessities such as food and clothing.
- Community and Cultural orientation
- Assistance obtaining social security cards
- School enrollment
- Employment assistance
- Referrals and assistance accessing services from medical, and public benefit agencies
In addition to resettlement services, we also offer enhanced and ongoing services to support former refugees as they acclimate to their new home in the US.
Our Refugee Resettlement services are available to those refugee families referred to Catholic Charities Family and Community Services for sponsorship by the national resettlement agency, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Family and Community Services may also offer some of its resettlement services to other immigrant classes who are deemed eligible by federal guidelines. Other immigrant classes that may be eligible for our services include:
- Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders
- Victims of Severe Forms of Trafficking
Rigorous U.S. Screening Process
Of the over 80 million displaced people worldwide, only a small percentage (usually less than 1%) will be allowed entry into the U.S. this year. Those refugees fortunate enough to be chosen for resettlement in the U.S. must undergo a rigorous screening process. After numerous interviews, medical exams, background checks and cultural orientation, they may finally be deemed ready to travel to the U.S. and are assigned to a Refugee Sponsoring Agency such as Catholic Charities Family and Community Services.
Our refugee clients are a distinct class of immigrants who are admitted to the U.S. because their circumstances satisfy the criteria for “refugee status”. U.S. immigration law defines refugees as those persons of special humanitarian concern who have fled their country of origin because they have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Once admitted, refugees are eligible to receive certain public benefits, are authorized to work, may obtain a green card, and can pursue a path to citizenship.