By Nashelly Chavez, for The Press Democrat, October 1, 2019
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa will ramp up its services for legal permanent residents who need help becoming citizens this month after the organization was awarded more than $237,000 in federal grant money, the nonprofit said.
The Santa Rosa- based charity was one of 41 organizations across 24 states selected for the Citizenship and Assimilation Grants Program, which gives money to immigrant-serving organizations that help steer lawful permanent residents through the naturalization process.
Nearly $10 million was awarded during this year’s grant cycle and more than 245,000 permanent residents have been helped by the program since its start in 2009, said the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security that administers the grants.
In all, the funding is expected to cover citizenship classes for 210 legal permanent residents in six towns throughout Lake and Sonoma counties: Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Cloverdale, Clearlake and Lakeport. High demand and historically under-served communities in those two counties, where Mexico, Honduras, the Philippines and the northeast African country of Eritrea are the most common countries of origin for immigrants, will be the focus of their efforts, Holmes said.