Refugee Services


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.

How to Contact

Refugee Services

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

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.

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