History of Refugee Resettlement at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Des Moines
Catholic Charities in Des Moines began working with Polish refugees in the late 1940s. Resettlement services continued into the 1970’s when the United States Catholic Conference began implementing a Southeast Asian refugee resettlement program. Catholic Charities independently resettled refugees from this region between 1975 and 1995 and then joined efforts with Lutheran Services in Iowa for 15 years. During this collaboration refugee families from the Sudan, Bosnia,
Somalia, Bhutan, Burma, Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq were settled in Iowa.
Beginning July 1, 2010, Catholic Charities began resettling refugees independently once again, making it the only agency in Iowa to continue refugee resettlement. This year, Catholic Charities will resettle approximately 130 refugees who have been forced to leave their homeland due to war and persecution. Resettlement efforts include assisting with housing, food, transportation, cultural orientation and job placement for the first 90 to 180 days.
What this means for Iowa
The refugee population adds valuable talents, perspectives and diversity to Iowa’s cultural tapestry. A courageous and strong people, refugees also bring a variety of work experience and skills. Many are well-educated and were professionals and small business owners in their home countries. Others were farmers or traders who know the value of hard work.
How you can help
You can directly help a refugee who has been forced to flee their homeland due to violence and persecution. Your financial support of the Refugee Resettlement Program makes you an active part in offering a caring and supportive environment for refugees as they begin new lives right here in Iowa. You can give hope and the opportunity to begin again.