Our refugee clients are an incredible group of people who are courageous, hard-working and excited about being in America.

The Refugees Journey to Cincinnati

The refugee’s journey from refugee camp to Cincinnati requires patience, diligence and perseverance.

Imagine that you and your family are living in central Africa and, one day, have to flee a war, religious or political persecution.  You find yourself leaving your homeland and going to a neighboring nation.Refugee Arrival - Airport web

Your journey has just begun.


  1. You are settled in a crowded refugee camp run by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees-usually without adequate water, food, health care and sanitation; but you are grateful that the United Nations has provided the aid, security, education, and supervision of the camp, as well as the health assessment you undergo. You may spend a decade or more in this camp.
  2. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security interviews you at a Migration Processing Center to determine resettlement eligibility.
  3. If you are found to be eligible, you are allocated to a Domestic Resettlement Agency called Voluntary Agencies (VOLAGS). There are 10 VOLAGS, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (which is the largest VOLAG).
  4. You are then allocated to Resettlement Cities around the U.S.  In Cincinnati, Catholic Charities is the only resettlement agency.
  5. When your destination is decided, you are notified of the destination and receive a final medical exam, processing and other clearance checks.
  6. Once processing is completed; your flight is booked and Catholic Charities is notified of your arrival date.
  7. Members of our team are assigned to the you and your family. We prepare an apartment or home, furniture, one-week’s worth of food, and a warm welcoming meal.
  8. When you and your family arrive in Cincinnati, you are greeted by a caseworker, interpreter, and community members already resettled here.

You and your family are finally taken to your new home.

This process usually takes years.

Who are they?

From October 2015 to September 2016, Catholic Charities resettled 333 refugees of whom 104 were children. The youngest refugee was one-year-old and the oldest was 86.  Most arrive as families. Of those resettled, Catholic Charities placed 111 in jobs. Most arrive from Asia and Africa. Here’s a snapshot of countries they fled.


Church Statement on Migration & Refugees

The Catholic Church has long stood with the refugees and migrants of the world.  In 2003, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a pastoral letter, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope” to set forth the Church’s social teaching on issues relating to migrants and refugees.

Learn more about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops‘ and the Pope Francis‘ Message for the World Day of Refugees and Migrants.

Learn Even More . . .

To understand the plight of the refugee, learn more about the refugee situation throughout the world.