Catholic Charities receives a $1.1 million Virginia refugee grant

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The Office of Newcomer Services Refugee Resettlement for the State of Virginia has awarded a $1.1 million grant to Arlington Diocesan Catholic Charities. One-third of all state funds was given to Catholic Charities among nine organizations vying for the three-year grant. The funds will be made available Oct. 1.

“This win allows us to continue our long mission of working closely with the Commonwealth of Virginia, bringing Christ's love to those migrants victimized by terror and injustice, and allowing them to integrate into our communities and culture,” said Art Bennett, president and CEO of Catholic Charities.

Brooke Hammond Pérez, director of Newcomer Services for Catholic Charities, said the agency historically has received these grants, the last one being a five-year grant in 2012.

Pérez said they were surprised to receive the full amount because there is a lot more competition now than there was five years ago. “It is demonstrative of the quality of the program we have been running over the years,” said Pérez.

The grant will be used to help Migration and Refugee Services support its existing and new clients. Catholic Charities also receives funds from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services to resettle refugees, but this state grant allows the agency to take the support further. “This supports the integration (of refugees) into the community,” Pérez said.

The Office of Migration and Refugee Services of Catholic Charities helps resettled refugees with job services, vocational training, English classes, health services and school enrollment.

The grant will help refugees who are older and may have more difficulty finding work or speaking English. The money also will assist with bringing meals to homebound refugees.

“The overall goal of the grant is to integrate refugees into the community,” said Pérez. “In this case, it is to help them become self-sufficient so they are not reliant on social services.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017

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