Catholic Charities to assist Syrian refugees in Phoenix

According to the United Nations, there are more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing the Syrian war into surrounding countries.

Catholic Charities

Many of these are educated, middle class families living in flimsy plastic tent camps without water or sanitation. In Phoenix, Catholic Charities is preparing to receive an influx of Syrian refugees to assist them in resettling.

Each October, the President of the United States determines how many refugees can be admitted into the United States.

“For 2015, the ceiling was at 70,000 and we are anticipating reaching that,” says Joanne Morales, director of Refugee Programs at Catholic Charities.

“We are expecting to resettle approximately 600 refugees here in Phoenix this upcoming year, with Syrians being a strong number within that total.”

This past summer, Catholic Charities staff prepared for the influx by attending a Syrian cultural training, where members of the local Syrian community trained staff on culture, history and language. Morales says staff are also working with local Syrians to identify needs and anticipate challenges.

As Syrian refugees arrive, Catholic Charities will provide a welcoming and supportive network to help Syrian refugees gain independence and become productive members of their new community.

Resettlement efforts focus on ensuring refugees attain economic self-sufficiency through the provision of comprehensive case management services and work-readiness training.

For more than 30 years, Catholic Charities has resettled more than 1,000 refugees each year from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Haiti and Cuba.

Catholic Charities relies on community support to help refugees become self-sufficient.

“People can help in several ways, such as donating gently used household furnishings and goods that will go to help setting up apartments for new arrivals. Or helping refugees get connected to employment,” says Ms. Morales.

As refugees are legally authorized to work, Valley employers are encouraged to consider employing capable candidates. Benefits for the employer include reduced hiring costs, pre-screening of applicants, vocational training as needed, and on-going support services by job developers during employment.

Catholic Charities is also hoping for additional volunteers to spend time with the Syrian refugees.

“Many refugees have left family and friends behind, so having a chance to have community support is essential. Volunteers are able to assist refugees with employment coaching, English language conversation, life skills such as how to grocery stop, use the post office, U.S. Laws, school system,” says Ms. Morales.

For more information about refugee resettlement, contact Mary Hickey at 602-888-4058.

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