In May of 2008, New Life’s board and congregation approved an ambitious project for the church to partner with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County to help house and serve the needs of some of the 200 “free case” refugees who arrive in San Jose each year. Free case refugees arrive with no family or friends to sponsor them, so Catholic Charities serves that role. As we began this partnership, we were delighted to have the support and additional partnering of Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church.
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Current Situation:Refugees entering the U.S. through this program have been approved for resettlement by both the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Catholic Charities is authorized by the federal government to receive and transition the refugees to become full citizens of the U.S. Their work includes housing, education and ESL courses, job training, medical care, and a range of social services coordinated for the refugee by their Case Manager.Refugees arrive in Santa Clara from many countries, and many are survivors of torture, slavery, and other trafficking circumstances.The Transition house provides the refugee with a safe, welcoming home from which to begin their life in the United States.
Response:New Life can serve these refugees by providing Catholic Charities with the badly-needed funds to rent a Transition House for 3 years.In addition to funding, there are many opportunities for the congregation to volunteer, to work with other churches who want to assist the refugees and to provide additional resources and friendship to the refugees.The initial goal is to keep the house for 3 years, with a long-term goal of enlisting the financial support and volunteer efforts of other local churches to serve the refugees and provide a perpetual source of funding for the Transition House.Maintain open and regular communication with Catholic Charities and establish an ongoing review process for the project.