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 English tutoring, family mentorship, and youth mentorship programs, and in partnership with local resettlement agencies, we work to make the greatest impact in the lives of newcomers.
Who is a refugee?
They 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? Which countries are people arriving from?
Portland 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. We are expecting to receive around 250 individuals this year. Refugee Care Collective also provides care for families resettled in previous years. Portland primarily resettles those from Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Ukraine, Myanmar, and Colombia. Currently, Portland is not resettling anyone from Somalia or Syria, and is mainly receiving families from Afghanistan and Ukraine.
How many refugees are there?
Right now there are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people in the world, according to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR. Over 25.4 million of them are refugees, the majority being made up of those uprooted by conflict in Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. Over half of all refugees are under 18.
Is it safe to have refugees in Portland?
The process for individuals to gain refugee status in the United States is extensive. 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?
A person with refugee status has all of the rights and responsibilities of a U.S. citizen, without the ability to vote. The status for refugees lasts for twelve months. After the first year, refugees are required to adjust their status to that of Permanent Resident Alien. They can then pursue citizenship after five years.
What is the easiest way to get involved?
Come to a Volunteer Orientation! Contact us here.
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. Our agency partners currently do not place families in the homes of community members. However, if you are an apartment property owner and would like to rent space to people with refugee status, 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.
While many people with refugee status have shared displacement experiences, what people like varies from person to person! There are a variety of aspects that make it wonderful and difficult to live in our shared city of Portland.
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.