Catholic Charities efforts to provide legal services to individuals and families navigating the immigration and visa system in Del Norte and Humboldt counties were extended an extra year by a $15,000 grant from the Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation.
“The immigrant communities in Humboldt and Del Norte counties face great challenges, namely a shortage of trained service providers as well as immigration attorneys who lack the experience necessary to properly address the need,” said Dina Lopez, Director of Immigration for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa. “This generous grant from HAF and WRCF will help Catholic Charities continue offering a variety of free legal services.”
Catholic Charities serves more than 5,000 immigrants each year with a suite of legal immigration remedies including Family-based Petitions, DACA, green card renewals, naturalization, U Visa and T Visa. Accredited by the Department of Justice, Catholic Charities staff serve historically underserved immigrant communities — mostly clients from Mexico, Honduras, Philippines — in Sonoma, Humboldt, Lake and Del Norte counties.
Lopez said her organization strives to make immigration remedies available to working families that are forced to travel outside of the area for help or pay significant fees for unreliable counsel.
“We strive to make services more accessible than they have ever been,” she said. “And we remain steadfast in our commitment to those exploring legal permanent residency across the entire Diocese of Santa Rosa.”
This is the second HAF/WRCF grant to Catholic Charities, which has expanded immigration outreach and education in Humboldt County the last five years. From November 2020 to September 2021 a $12,000 grant to the organization allowed them to bring $90,000 worth of pro bono legal aid to Humboldt County, reaching 152 workers and their families.
“Supporting the services that allow our neighbors to achieve or maintain legal immigration status is key to ensuring the safety and protection of these families,” said Lindsie Bear, vice president or Community Solutions at HAF/WRCF. “We are grateful to our local community leaders at True North Organizing, Centro del Pueblo, and in the Promotores Network for helping the foundation identify this gap in essential services. And to Catholic Charities for working with local leaders to bring trusted educational and technical expertise where it is so deeply needed.”
Catholic Charities will use the new HAF/WRCF grant this year and in 2022 to expand services in Del Norte County as the number of immigrants working low-wage service and agriculture jobs continues to rise. Specific services will include free, one-to-one legal assistance, and free education and outreach events that help clients learn their rights and the legal pathways to citizenship. The work will be done virtually in partnership with trusted, local agencies and Catholic parishes. Once COVID restrictions are lifted, they will return to in-person events.
For more information about Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa, visit www.srcharities.org. Learn more about Humboldt Area Foundation at hafoundation.org, and Wild Rivers Community Foundation at wildriverscf.org. For more information about this press release, contact Jarad Petroske at firstname.lastname@example.org.