Tibbetts House Refugee Ministry
Tibbetts House is a ministry of St. Ignatius Church that helps refugee families make their transition into our community. The goal of the ministry is to provide a generous welcome to incoming refugees as they adjust to their new life in Portland and await the establishment of long-term housing.
Transitional Aid for Refugees
Tibbetts House is located near the church and is operated in collaboration with Catholic Charities, Jesuits West, and parish volunteers. Catholic Charities is the official refugee sponsor organization that makes the initial connections with Tibbetts House to house newly-arrived refugee families. Jesuits West own and maintain Tibbetts House itself. St. Ignatius parish provides volunteers and community connections to support refugee families while they stay in Tibbetts House.
During their time at Tibbetts House – usually 1 to 3 months – refugee families learn how life in the US works and start to get their feet on the ground. There are many ways parishioners can support Tibbetts House families. Some examples are greeting families at the airport, bringing them a welcome meal, helping with cultural and language awareness, helping to orient them to Portland, cleaning the house in between families, or donating goods or money.
Since 2017, Tibbetts House volunteers have had the joy and privilege of seeing Tibbetts House families launch into new jobs, find permanent homes, achieve high school graduation, and start higher education. Volunteers gain awareness of cultural norms and traditions different from their own, as well as a deeper understanding of global politics and its impact on families. They also can feel a stronger connection to the church and its purpose through direct service to those who have been excluded.