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Catholic Charities Maine to begin resettling refugees in Bangor

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Micky Bedell
/
Bangor Daily News
Catholic Charities Maine will begin resettling refugees in Bangor this year, and the first family could arrive as soon as this month.

Maine’s refugee resettlement program is expanding to Bangor. Catholic Charities Maine, the state’s longest standing resettlement agency, plans to begin assisting new arrivals as soon as this month.

Up until now, families and individuals coming through the federal government’s refugee program have mostly been resettled in Portland, Lewiston, and the surrounding areas.

Now, Catholic Charities Maine is preparing to resettle several dozen refugees in Bangor, after opening a new office in the region.

The federal government ultimately decides when people will land in Bangor, said Charles Mugabe, with Catholic Charities. But he expects the arrivals to be spaced out over the course of the year.

"These individuals will come at different timelines, they will not all come at once," he said. "And as they arrive, they will each be receiving services and supports at different timelines as well."

While Catholic Charities is in charge of resettlement efforts, local nonprofits, including the Maine Multicultural Center, are marshalling volunteers to provide ongoing support as needed.

"Interpreting American culture for them, helping them kind of find their way in the community," said Pamela Proulx-Curry, co-president of the board at the Multicultural Center.

She said her organization is also helping to locate housing for the new arrivals, and soliciting donations of houseware and furniture.

The first family, originally from Syria, is expected to arrive in late October or early November.