RefugeeNet: A Vital Resource
RefugeeNet began in 1995 at St. Luke’s, North Park to provide supportive services to refugees during their adjustment to life in the U.S. We have grown from a small committee of five people to a nonprofit corporation with a board of directors and an annual budget of $188,000 funded by donations and small grants. In 2010, we became an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.
RefugeeNet guides new families through the bureaucracy of immigration, education, employment, and welfare issues, with transportation and translation services during their years of adjustment to American life. The goal is to help refugees become independent and productive U.S. citizens.
RefugeeNet employs a staff of three full-time employees, and one part-time employee, and are supported by a cadre of dedicated volunteers who donate numerous service hours each week. We own one pickup truck and two vans for the transport of food, necessities and clients. Our staff members are refugees themselves who speak many of the Middle Eastern, African and Asian languages our clients speak. The majority of the refugees we serve reside in City Heights, El Cajon, North Park and Linda Vista.
RefugeeNet provides translation services for families at government agencies and job sites, medical, dental and hospital visits. We also offer social and educational services, including transportation and tutoring on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in City Heights, and assistance and advocacy at schools, legal hearings, government agencies and property owner meetings, help in completing forms and applications, connecting to available community services, and emergency assistance for those times when they don’t know what to do. They call us. We assist refugees in understanding the laws and expectations of their new homeland and we provide basic living services. We gather and distribute household goods, furniture and clothing, food from food banks and donations to distribute on Tuesdays and Thursdays.