This Refugee Week, Catholic Mission is inviting parishes to take action and open their hearts and arms to sponsor refugee families to help them to settle into their new life in Australia.
The Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot (CRISP) is designed for community members to build social networks to welcome a family group granted a humanitarian visa but is still waiting to arrive in Australia.
The federal Government has dedicated 1500 humanitarian visas within the CRISP program and groups are matched with a refugee household that has been identified as in urgent need of resettlement by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The program is supported by Catholic Mission in partnership with the End of Child Detention Coalition.
It offers parishes and community groups the opportunity to sponsor newly arrived refugee families and assist them in their first year of settlement in Australian society.
“The families that we’ve been privileged to support speak about the importance of their new Australian friends helping them understand and navigate unfamiliar systems. The help given eases the stress of a huge transition,” says Jenny Collins-White, advocacy programs manager at Catholic Mission.
The support provided is both tangible and pastoral, as many families are going through a long and exhausting administrative path. According to the Refugee Council of Australia, the average processing time for permanent protection visas is 913 days.
Within the past two years, Catholic Mission and the ECDC have supported St Vincent’s Parish in Ashfield, NSW, to sponsor three families to settle into their new lives and make Australia their home.