programs

Refugee Services

 
 

Vision

For every refugee, a pathway to self-reliance and a sense of belonging.

Statement of Purpose

To facilitate an effective and memorable transition experience for refugees through an integrated provision of services: Resettlement, Employment, Acculturation, Case Management, Health.


Project R E A C H 

The first year of a refugee’s life in the United States is one of uncertainty and hope. A refugee family faces many challenges, but is determined to seek a better life. Coming to the US offers a new beginning.

Refugee Services provides guidance and support towards building a secure and independent future. Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego extends a helping hand to welcome the newcomer through its refugee program called Project REACH.


RESETTLEMENT - opportunity for refugees to be resettled in a safe and stable location

Imagine having to leave your home and your country due to your life being threatened, only to arrive in a strange new place where you have absolutely nothing but the clothes on your back. You cannot communicate your needs because you do not understand the language.

The Refugee Resettlement Program provides a once in a lifetime opportunity for refugees to be resettled in a safe and stable location. After being welcomed at the airport, Resettlement Specialists (RS) resettle the refugees into their new homes in San Diego County.

The RS provide a safety and home orientation along with a traditional ethnic meal to welcome our new neighbors. Our main goal is to enable newly arrived refugee families to become self-sufficient, self-reliant and contributing members of the community.

Initial Resettlement Services include:

  • Access to Affordable housing

  • Applying for Social Security Cards

  • Registering children for school

  • Enrolling adults in ESL

  • Arranging initial health assessment appointments

  • Applying for public assistance

  • Providing Cultural Orientation

  • Connecting to community resources


EMPLOYMENT - enabling self-reliance and economic self-sufficiency

The Employment team focuses on providing services in the area of job search, job skills, job development, vocational skills training and building relationships with employers in the community. The number one goal of the Employment team is to enable self- reliance and economic self-sufficiency.

Employment Specialists act as liaisons between the employer and the job seeker, ensuring everyone’s needs are met. They go above and beyond to work with employers to match the right candidate and his/her experience to the needs of the employer.

Benefits of working with our job-seekers:

  • Skilled, experienced long-term workers

  • Multilingual and culturally competent employees

  • Strong work ethic

  • Diversity at your workplace

  • Tax incentives

  • Work-authorized and security clearance

  • Availability of employees

  • Received Job Readiness training

  • Free language and cultural support


ACCULTURATION - fostering necessary skills for the application and interview processes

We see the newcomer as someone who is actively constructing her or his successful resettlement. She or he draws upon a variety of “bricks” to do this — and many, though not all, of these bricks come from the several services the Department can provide. Our job (the job of the Acculturation Team) is to discuss with the program participant how each brick serves its purpose, why that brick is necessary, where it comes from, and how to replace it in the future, should that be necessary.

For example, the program participant uses the resources of Employment Services for actually connecting with potential employers. As the Acculturation Team, we bring the program participant closer to connecting successfully by fostering the skills necessary for following through on the application and interview processes. Similarly, the program participant discusses a self-sufficiency plan with his or her case manager. As the Acculturation Team we respond to the needs articulated in this plan by personalizing the learning experience.


CASE MANAGEMENT - empower clients and guide them towards self-sufficiency

The Case Manager is one the first and most important points of contact for people who have recently arrived to the United States as refugees, Cuban/Haitian entrants or asylees. The Case Manager’s role is to support and empower clients to see their own strengths while simultaneously guiding them towards self-sufficiency.

In order to do this, Case Managers assess clients through personal interviews and assist them to build their future by removing barriers to employment or social integration. Case Managers refer clients to appropriate resources and help guide them in navigating the American system as they learn about their new environment and make this their new home.

Examples of case management services are as follows:

  • Assess client background and helps to develop a self-sufficiency plan.

  • Assist the refugee client with public benefits application.

  • Help the client to apply for his/her Social Security number.

  • Enroll the client in ESL (English as Second Language) classes and assists him/her with registering for Job Readiness training.

  • Hold monthly meetings with the client in order to follow up on progress.

  • Provide the client with tools to succeed.

  • Register the client for Transportation Orientation where he/she can learn how to take public transportation.

  • Take on a role as teacher, trainer, social worker, mentor and advocate on behalf of the client.

  • For the entire first year of arrival to the U.S., continue to assist the client with Social Services, including applying for Community College, Financial Aid and County Health Services.


HEALTH - meeting the initial health needs of newly arrived refugees

Many refugees arriving in the US have never heard of diseases like hepatitis or lead poisoning. Some refugees have never had access to healthcare, or may have seen a doctor only when they felt very sick. The Refugee Health Assessment Program (RHAP) at Catholic Charities provides refugees with a directed health assessment within the first 30 days of their arrival to San Diego County. Services consider cultural and language barriers which can impact health needs.

The RHAP team is made up of Catholic Charities Health Navigators, Interpreters, and professional medical staff from UCSD and the County of San Diego. Together, this team meets the initial health needs of our newly arrived refugees.

The Refugee Health Assessment Program Services include:

Screening/Testing for:

  • Tuberculosis (skin test or blood test)

  • Anemia

  • Hepatitis B and C

  • Syphilis

  • HIV

  • Stool ova and parasites

  • Lead exposure

  • Pregnancy (urine test)

  • Immunizations

  • General health education

  • Domestic violence prevention education

  • Treatment for tuberculosis infection

Assessment of health status includes:

  • Review of medical history and test results

  • Physical examination

  • Individual health education

  • Referrals to healthcare and community


Smoke-Free for All San Diegans (SFASD)

A tobacco prevention and awareness project that reaches out, educates and advocates for smoke-free environments. They primarily help develop voluntary no-smoking policies at health care facilities and faith-based organizations throughout San Diego County to protect all individuals from secondhand smoke exposure.

Smoke-free for All San Diegans’ free services and assistance include:

  • No-smoking signs and smoking cessation resources upon request

  • Technical assistance to health care facilities and faith-based organizations about smoking-related issues

  • Educational presentations about the benefits of smoke-free living to various audiences

Catholic Charities Smoke-Free Homes Project: Making Our Homes Healthier for Ourselves and Our Families:

Are you exposed to secondhand smoke inside your place of residence? Catholic Charities has a special program that you might be interested in. Participation is open to one person per household/family. 

Please give us a call today at 619 287-9454 to find out more about this special initiative.

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How to Contact

Refugee Services

4575-A Mission Gorge Place
San Diego, CA 92120
619 287-9454

Refugee Support Center

1550 Melody Lane
El Cajon, CA 92019-2015
619 326-1961

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer activities include, but are not limited to:

  • English Language Tutor

  • Transportation Assistant

  • Housing Assistant

  • Resettlement Mentor

  • Job Coach

  • … and more!

To volunteer, please visit our volunteer page.

How to support us

We accept donations of home furnishings, hygiene products and back-to-school items.

Contact us at 619-287-9454.