Multicultural Resources

Maine Agencies with Specialized Services for LEP Persons

Catholic Charities Maine
Refugee and Immigration Services (RIS) and Language Partners
Program Director, Arian Gizntris

(Portland office)
80 Sherman Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 523-2738
Fax: (207) 871-7465

(Lewiston office)
27 Pine Street
Lewiston, Maine
Phone: (207) 344-6615
Fax: (207) 344-6617

Website: www.ccmaine.org/refugee
E-mail: RIS@ccmaine.org

(Administrative office)
P.O. Box 10660
Portland, Maine 04104-6060
Phone: (207) 781-8550
1-800-781-8550
Fax: (207) 781-8560
Website: www.ccmaine.org
E-mail: Info@ccmaine.org

During the past 30 years, Catholic Charities Maine Refugee and Immigration Services (RIS) has resettled thousands of refugees from more than 25 countries. RIS is Maine’s only active resettlement program, with contracts from the U.S. Departments of State and Health and Human Services, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Resettlement through RIS serves as a refugee’s final stop on his/her flight from political persecution. The purpose of RIS, therefore, is to enable refugees and other eligible immigrants residing in Maine to recover from migratory distress and realize economic and social self-sufficiency.

Services at RIS are grounded in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1980. These include airport reception, bicultural and bilingual case management, cultural and employment orientations, employment placement, English language training, refugee elder services, mental health and social adjustment services, and interpretation and translation services. Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance benefits are available up to 8 months. These benefits are modeled on the State TANF/Mainecare formulas. Other social and support services are available to refugee clients during their first five years in the U.S.

RIS staff speak 12 languages, and the interpreter services project – RISInterpret – employs 60 interpreters covering more than 30 languages. RIS services (other than interpreter/translation services) are provided at RIS offices in Portland and Lewiston. All services are available to all refugees regardless of their national origin, race, religion, ethnicity, or other defining social characteristics.

See Also: Catholic Charities, Maine; Language Partners;

Catholic Charities Elder Refugee Services
Contact: Judith Southworth, Elder Refugee Outreach Coordinator
80 Sherman Street
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 871-7437 ext. 5
Fax: (207) 871-7465
E-mail: jsouthworth@ccmaine.org,

The purpose of the program is to help refugees, aged 60 years +, gain access to services in the community which meet their needs in a way that is supportive of their overall well being. Also the program seeks to identify and address potential problems where support services may be culturally inappropriate, or where those services do not exist.

Catholic Charities Maine / Refugee and Immigration Services
Mental Health/Adjustment Case Manager
Contact: Judith Southworth, Elder Refugee Coordinator
250 Anderson St.
Portland, ME 04101
E-mail: jsouthworth@ccmaine.org, Phone: (207) 871-7437 ext. 8
E-mail: sstiker@CCMAINE.ORG, Phone: (207) 871-7437, x734

The purpose of the program is to help refugees, aged 60 years +, gain access to services in the community which meet their needs in a way that is supportive of their overall well being. Also the program seeks to identify and address potential problems where support services may be culturally inappropriate, or where those services do not exist.

For older refugees, there are a number of issues which make them particularly vulnerable. Broadly speaking these issues fall into three areas of concern: isolation, aging and illness, and barriers to meeting the requirements for naturalization which can lead to loss of Supplemental Security Income.

The objectives of the project are: to locate elderly refugees within the various refugee communities and conduct and document an assessment of the nature and level of their needs; to develop working relationships with state agencies, non-profits, community groups, and volunteers who currently provide both formal and informal services to the elderly; to arrange for in-service trainings about refugee communities to elder service agencies and other providers; to provide assistance to older refugees in accessing existing aging services, as well as fostering the development of culturally appropriate informal supportive services; to discover in what way older refugees can be assisted in obtaining naturalization, especially for those who have lost, or are at risk of losing, Supplemental Security Income and other Federal benefits.

City of Portland
Refugee Services Program, Health & Human Services Division
Regina Phillips, Director

190-192 Lancaster Street
Portland, Maine 04101
Phone: (207) 775-7915 x255
Fax: (207) 871-1320
E-mail: rlp@portlandmaine.gov
Website: www.portlandmaine.gov (Departments of Health and Human Services Social Services Refugee Services, or http://www.portlandmaine.gov/hhs/ssrefugee.asp)

The City of Portland Refugee Services Program offers case management services, employment counseling and job development, life skills and cross-cultural skills training. They facilitate the monthly “Serving a Multicultural Community” workshop series. They are also available for customized workshops for social service providers, employers or other groups working with new Mainers. The Refugee Services Program is able to serve secondary migrants, asylees, individuals with asylum pending, and provide information and referrals for undocumented individuals and others who do not qualify for their services.

The City of Portland is a founding member of the New Mainers Partnership, a collaboration of agencies led by Catholic Charities of Maine that provide resettlement and relocation services to New Mainers. The New Mainers Partnership provides responsive, culturally and linguistically-appropriate services. Other New Mainers Partnership members include: Portland and Lewiston Adult Education, and the Training Resource Center. The New Mainers Partnership is funded by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.

See Also: Catholic Charities Refugee & Immigrant Services, Portland Adult Education, Lewiston Adult Education, and Training Resource Center.