Portland, Ore., Sep 8, 2018 / 15:20 pm
For some 70 years, Catholic Charities in Oregon has helped refugees settle into their new life – assisting with everything from housing to English classes.
But with recent changes to vetting processes and travel bans, the state's Catholic Charities will likely receive no more than 160 refugees for entirety of this fiscal year, ending in September. That's nearly a 75 percent decrease from the estimated 600 refugees they helped settle in 2016.
The transition has been difficult, and more than half of the Oregon Catholic Charities' refugee service staff had to be let go, said Matthew Westerbeck, program manager for Catholic Charities Refugee Services.
But the agency is adapting, and is now working to provide longer term support for new arrivals and refugees already here.