Refugee Resettlement Services

Catholic Charities serves refugees who come to the United States through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Refugees come from extreme poverty, violence, or religious and political persecution in their homelands; seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

Refugee_camp_in_GuineaSober Facts
– There are 65.3 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, refugees who left their home, where it was too dangerous to stay.  More than 21 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18, live in confinement in camps in adjacent countries, in squalor, amidst disease and deprivation. Some refugees are repatriated (returned home); others are nationalized (accepted as citizens and residents in the nation of their camps); but most remain refugees.

Less than 1% of refugees are resettled. Most live their lives in refugee camps.

Providing Light – Refugees who come to the U.S. are resettled in communities throughout the nation.  Catholic Charities is the only agency serving refugees who are resettled in Greater Cincinnati.  Through the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. Department of State, Catholic Charities resettles about 200 refugees a year in Cincinnati.  More than 12,000 refugees have been resettled by Catholic Charities in this community since 1980. In 2017, Catholic Charities resettled 278 down from 333 refugees resettled during the 2016 program year. Most came from Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo both years. We expect to resettled 240 refugees during the 2018 program year.

Refugees seek resettlement to flee intolerable conditions in their homelands and are a special class of immigrants who come here; vetted and security cleared by the government.  These new immigrants enrich our culture and join the long line of German, Irish, Jewish, Polish, Asian & Eastern European refugees and immigrants who came to Cincinnati looking for a fresh start and a better life as New Americans.

These refugees come from far-reaching parts of the world – Burundi, Bhutan, Iraq, Congo, Eritrea, and Sudan.  All have hopes of a better and safer life in the United States for them and their families.  The goal is to strengthen our community by assisting these New Americans so that refugees, migrants and people on the move are treated with dignity, respect, welcome and belonging.

Importantly, studies show refugees have a positive impact on their new homes as they’re more likely to be entrepreneurial and participate in the labor market. A recent study examining refugee resettlement in the Cleveland area supports this view. Read Economic Impact of Refugees in the Cleveland Area. The Center for Migration Studies issued a new report in June 2018 that provides compelling data and findings in support of the premise that refugees are net contributors to their host communities and our nation as a whole and not a threat or burden as some have argued. Commissioned by Catholic Charities USA in partnership with Catholic Relief Services and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services, the report states, “The US refugee program has advanced the United States’ standing in the world, saved countless lives, and put millions of refugees on a path to work, self-sufficiency, and integration.”

Here’s a story with a happy ending from a former refugee, Joseph, from Liberia share his hopes and dreams for his family. If you would like to invite a refugee to speak at your school, congregation, club or group, contact our Refugee Speakers Bureau to schedule a presentation.


Learn more about the services we provide.

To learn more about our World Refugee Day Celebration on June 22nd, click here.

The Refugee Program is always in need of volunteers, household goods, and monetary donations.  Learn how you can help.

Learn about the refugees and the refugee resettlement process.

Hear about our success stories and outcomes.

(Photo: U.S. Agency for International Development)