Refugee Resettlement Services

Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio welcomes refugees escaping persecution, war and violence in their homelands and empowers them to build new lives and become self-sufficient in a welcoming community. Since 1980, Catholic Charities has resettled thousands of refugees from all over the world in Greater Cincinnati, beginning with refugees from Vietnam during the early years to more recent arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bhutan, Syria and Eritrea as well as Special Immigrant Visa holders from Afghanistan.

What Is a Refugee?

Refugees are forced to flee their home country, cross an international border, and cannot return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on religion, race, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Official refugee status is conferred through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations and the U.S. allow refugees to have protected status. The U.S. permits them to be here through a special visa. They are then expected to get their permanent residency status (green card) within a year of arrival and apply for citizenship after five years. 

Refugees undergo a more rigorous vetting process than any other immigrant allowed into the U.S., a process that takes at least 24 months and includes background and security checks and medical assessments. On average, refugees wait 10 years before they are relocated to a new country. Less than one percent of refugees resettle in another country.

The Resettlement Program

Reception & Placement Services

  • Airport Reception
  • Housing
  • Cultural Orientation
  • Connection to Health Screenings and healthcare services
  • School and Child Care Enrollments
  • Social Security Number Application
  • Transportation Training
  • Connection to Community Resources
  • Case Management

Case Management

Case Management Services include:

Assisting individuals and families in navigating complex systems by advocating for them and connecting them to much needed resources in the community such as health, housing, employment, education, legal, and mental health services.


Case Management Services include:

  • Job Readiness Job
  • Placement & Follow-up
  • Financial Literacy
  • Computer Literacy
  • Tax Preparation
  • Case Management

Refugee Youth Mentoring

Youth ages 15-24 are matched with a volunteer adult mentor to support their educational and vocational advancement and promote positive civic and social engagement. Mentors provide:

  • 1:1 interaction with youth 
  • Academic support 
  • Assistance with learning English 
  • Social activities with youth peers 
  • Career development 
  • Introduction to American culture while maintaining and celebrating the youth’s cultural heritage

How You Can Help

Hire a Refugee

Hire a Refugee

At Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, our employment staff works individually with our clients and their families to prepare them for the American workplace with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency. When our staff enrolls clients, we discuss their past education, training, and employment as well as jobs they feel comfortable doing in the US. Before starting employment, we connect them with English classes and provide Cultural Orientation, Job Readiness, and Financial Literacy courses. We assist refugees throughout every step of finding employment that fits their needs: job search, application, interview, and onboarding. To learn more, click here.


Volunteers are needed at all levels of time commitment. Apply to volunteer at, where you can join our team and explore more opportunities. Help set up housing, welcome families when they arrive, teach classes, mentor youth and young adults, pick up donations, and drive families to and from medical and other appointments. To discuss your options, and find out what works best for your interests and availability, contact Dan Sarell at (513) 672-3710, or


Gifts of all sizes are welcome at donate. The first step in empowering the lives of refugee families is to support Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio’s Refugee Resettlement Services. Catholic Charities welcomes your financial support to welcome families and helping them get on their feet. Government funding does not cover all resettlement costs, and community investment is essential to sustain our mission.

Advocate & Network

Stand in solidarity by your voice and participation. We need caring advocates to spread the word and mobilize supporters. Please invite Catholic Charities to share our mission with your group, class or faith community. Please “like and share” our social media posts, including invitations to Pray, Learn, Volunteer and Donate, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Additional Ways In Which You Can Help

Donate Household Items

We appreciate your support. Donations of gently used or new small household items enable volunteers and staff to set up comfortable homes for new refugee arrivals. If you or your group would like to organize a drive for Household Item donations, or for a general listing of our typical household needs, please click on this link to learn more.

Donate Coats, Hats & Gloves

Regretfully, we cannot accept clothing but do accept coats, hats and gloves. Gently used coats, hats and gloves must be laundered or dry-cleaned.

Give a Welcome Basket

Individuals and groups can collect household necessities and assemble them into Welcome Baskets for the Bath, Bedroom or Kitchen.

Beds for Refugee Families

** We always have an ongoing and immediate need to purchase beds. ** We can accept gently used twin, full and queen-sized bedframes, but not used mattresses or box springs. We have a relationship to purchase beds at a deep discount. If you would like to donate for this purpose, visit donate, and indicate “Beds for Refugees” in the Special Instructions. You may also donate generally to the Refugee Resettlement program, using the Drop-Down Menu. Thank you for helping us meet these critical needs for our new neighbors.

For more information regarding household item, coat, hat, and glove donations, please call (513) 672-3722.

Additional Ways In Which You Can Help

The following items should be NEW* …

  • Alarm Clocks
  • Chairs & Dining Tables
  • Coffee Tables & End Tables
  • Dressers
  • Fans
  • Kitchen Trash Cans & Kitchen Trash Bags
  • Lamps
  • Light bulbs
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Sheets and mattress pads for cribs (unused)
  • Vacuum cleaners

For more information or questions, please call (513) 241-7745, select #.

The following items should be NEW* …

  • Night stands / End Tables
  • Coffee tables Chairs & Dining Tables
  • (kitchen size)
  • Dressers / Chest of Drawers

The following items can be new or gently used* …

  • Pots and pans
  • Stock pots
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Plastic food storage
  • Tea kettles
  • Cookie sheets/baking sheets
  • Pitchers
  • Serving bowls
  • Wooden spoons
  • Knives – paring, chef, carving
  • Spatulas
  • Mixing bowls
  • Strainers / Collanders
  • Wall art – light weight
  • Alarm clocks
  • Fans, Lamps and Light bulbs

* Other items are accepted, but this is a list of current, priority needs. For more information or questions, please call (513) 241-7745, select #.

*Learn about eligibility requirements to participate in our Refugee Resettlement Program