Refugee Resettlement Program – Oregon
Helping Refugees Build a New Life in the Northwest
Refugees are victims of persecution who flee their homelands in search of hope, justice and a safe place to raise their families. Most refugees suffer unthinkable tragedy and arrive here with next to nothing. We offer them healing and hope.
For over 40 years, our Multicultural Community Services (MCS) have partnered with communities throughout the Northwest to help more than 40,000 refugees feel at home. We help refugees secure homes and jobs, learn English, navigate educational and public systems, and build fulfilling connections. Refugees built America, and we honor and help them continue that tradition.
Reception and Placement
Reception and Placement covers the period when a refugee family first arrives here. MCS contracts with the U.S State Department to help refugees start rebuilding their lives during their first 90 days in the U.S.
Our work starts before we arrive. We secure housing, furnishings and food. Our case managers meet refugee families at the airport and are their first contact here.
After arrival, we connect refugees to the social services that build self-sufficiency. These include medical screening, employment programs, job coaching, ESL classes, registering children in school and temporary cash assistance. We bring them community support that is vital to helping refugees in their journey toward self-sufficiency and feeling at home.
Refugee Case Management Services
Oregon Refugee Case Services: We partner with the State of Oregon to supplement the 90 days of R&P and provide support for up to 8 months after refugees arrive. Services include:
- Cash assistance for up to eight months after arrival
- Case management services such as: obtaining a Social Security card and Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) identification; opening a bank account; paying rent and utility bills, enrolling children in school and referring them for a health screening, and assistance with other emergent needs.
- Orientation sessions that address budgeting, housing, healthcare and family law in the United States.
- Employment and English as a Second Language services
Intensive Case Management
Our Intensive Case Management (ICM) program staff work tirelessly to ensure that the most vulnerable refugees arriving in Portland have their needs met so that they can rebuild their lives and begin the path toward self-sufficiency. ICM works with refugees in navigating the medical system, advocating for the needs of the refugee client, creating a Service Plan for each client, and facilitating medical transportation. To qualify for services, refugees must be within 5 years of their arrival to the United States, and are eligible for up to one year of ICM services.
Our ICM team connects participating refugee families with family mentors through our partnership with Refugee Care Collective. The mentors work closely with refugees to help them access services, learn English and build a friendship.
Refugee School Enrollment
Refugee Youth entering Portland schools face a daunting challenge. When they’ve had formal education, it’s taught in their home language. When they arrive, they’re placed in grade levels according to age, not ability.
The Oregon Refugee School Impact Program (ORSIP) helps integrate newly-arrived refugeed children into schools. We bring students, parents and teachers together with orientation, translation and concentrated academic assistance and social support.
We leverage community resources from schools and other refugee service providers, making referrals and working closely with resettlement case managers to address barriers to academic success.
ORSIP is funded through the State of Oregon and is a partnership between LCS Northwest, Catholic Charities (CC) and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR).
How to Help
There are many heartwarming and rewarding opportunities to support refugee families as they settle in to their new homes and become contributing members of the community.
Volunteer Opportunities Include:
- Co-sponsorship: A group from either a church or an organization that acts as the “welcoming committee” for a new refugee family. Co-sponsors help prepare for the family’s arrival by setting up the apartment, providing transportation for important appointments during the first 30 days, shopping and providing general companionship and support.
- Providing Transportation: Help a new refugee family get to their appointments and learn their way around Portland. Or help them learn to use public transportation.
- Family Mentorship: a volunteer position designed to ease a refugee family’s transition to their new lives in the Portland area. The family mentor role is multi-faceted and always evolving as the families served come from such different backgrounds and circumstances. Both refugee families and mentors learn and grow from this very rewarding relationship.
- Financial Donations: Cash assistance helps refugees get started here. Please visit our online donation page. Under the gift designation section of this page, please specify that you want your donation to go to the Portland office.
Donate Your Used Furniture and Household Goods
Moving? Downsizing? Replacing? We are accepting donations of new and gently used household items and furniture! Your donated household items and furniture will be used to help prepare apartments for newly arrived refugees. We will pick up donations that are in excellent condition and are within our geographic range. We are in need of the following:
- Tables and chairs
- Working Televisions
- Coffee tables and end tables
- Linens, blankets, towels
- Kitchen utensils, pots and pans, silverware, cutlery
For more information, please contact us at 503-731-9525.
Refugee Holiday Program
During the Christmas Holiday Season,we coordinate an “adopt a family” giving program. Our most in-need refugee families are matched with individuals, groups, churches or businesses that are willing to provide gifts in new or good condition. LCS gives sponsors information regarding the family members’ names, genders, sizes and needed items. These are typically household items, clothes and toys.
You may deliver gifts directly to the family to share in their excitement and joy, or you can leave them with us. Your gifts are a wonderful way to show refugee families that they are welcome here, and that our community cares about them. Gifts bring home and joy to vulnerable refugees.
Please join our Refugee Holiday program by calling 503-731-9525. The Holiday Program provides gifts for LCSNW refugee client families only.
Need more information?