Frequently Asked Questions
What does Refugee Care Collective do?
Refugee Care Collective is a non-profit organization that provides transformative care to refugees resettled in Portland, Oregon, through mobilizing the city.
Through restart kits, in home ESL tutoring, family mentorship, and youth mentorship programs, and in partnership with resettlement agencies, we work to make the greatest impact in the lives of refugees.
Who are refugees?
Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their home country and who are unable to return because they are at risk for persecution due to race, nationality, religion, or membership in a particular social group or political opinion. This definition also sometimes includes people fleeing war or other armed conflict.
People become refugees when they cross country borders. They are displaced (or Internally Displaced Persons) when forced to flee their homes but remain within their own country.
How many refugees come to Portland and when are they getting here?
Portland receives up to 1,500 refugees each year, and has resettled tens of thousands of people who now call this city home. The annual national quota is determined every year by the federal government. While this number has been reduced by the current administration, we are still receiving several hundred refugees, with new families arriving every week.
Which countries are people arriving from?
Portland primarily resettles those from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Ukraine, Myanmar, and Colombia. Currently, we are mostly receiving families from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
What are other widely known stats on refugees and resettlement?
• There are over 66 million people who are displaced around the globe today, while 42,500 people are uprooted and forced to flee for their lives each day. There are over 22 million refugees in the world.
• The average time of displacement is 17 years.
• Over 50% of refugees today are children.
• The vetting process takes an average of 18-24 months.
• Less than 1% of the world’s refugees are resettled in the United States.
Is it safe to have refugees in Portland?
The process for individuals to gain refugee status in the United States is extensive. Worldwide, the average processing time once someone has applied for refugee status is 18-24 months. Every refugee admitted into the United States undergoes a very thorough screening process led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with the Department of Defense and FBI. Any person that has participated in war crimes or violations of humanitarian and human rights law, including the crime of terrorism, will not be given refugee status by the United States.
Are refugees automatically American citizens?
Their initial status lasts for twelve months. They’re expected to work while becoming self-sufficient over a short period of time. After the first year, refugees are required to adjust their status to that of Permanent Resident Alien. They can then apply for citizenship after having been a resident in the United States for five years.
What is the easiest way to get involved?
Our greatest need currently is funding. Giving a financial donation of any size is a significant way of being a part of this story. Donate here.
Restart kits are filled with essential items that refugees need to rebuild their lives in the United States. It’s a tangible need, and a simple way to be part of welcoming refugees. Get more information on the next Restart Kit Collection Day here.
How do I donate furniture or household items?
We partner with organizations that accept donations of new and gently used household items and furniture. Get more information on accepted items and pickup, here.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes! You’ll receive a tax receipt when making a financial contribution or when donating furniture or restart kits.
Can I open up my home to host a family?
The tight rental market in Portland has made housing a challenge. While we are currently not offering this housing program, we may do so in the future. If you are a apartment property owner and would like to use space for refugees to rent, please send us an email.
What do refugees like most about living here?
This is a question that comes up often! While we would like to be able to answer with the Portland classics: Salt & Straw ice-cream, Powell’s books, Forest Park, food carts, etc., refugees are simply thankful to have a safe place to live. They have a home. Their children get an education. Their family finally has opportunities to succeed. Their new lives can be built on a foundation of safety, freedom, and hope for the future.
Do you speak at churches, schools, and events?
Yes, send us an email. We would like to help create awareness within your community and share ways you can support the refugees in our city.
I love the “Home” film. How can I download it?
To show the film, click the “Download” button underneath the video player here. Select “Original” at 516MB. If you’re going to share the film, we’d love to know. Send us an email here.