Office of Immigrant Services outgrows CCETN location

Move to larger quarters in Knoxville will allow assistance to more people as workload grows

By Emily Booker

Lisa Healy, center, interim executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, is joined by Alessandra Ceccarelli, second from left, program leader for the Office of Immigrant Services; Edith Coral Johnson, an OIS program leader, far left; Paul Ritter, second from right, programs director for CCETN; and Laura Sanchez, a program leader for Catholic Charities, in cutting the ribbon signaling the Office of Immigrant
Services’ move to larger office space.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee’s Office of Immigrant Services held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new Knoxville location on Sept. 13.

With the help of a grant from the Office of Criminal Justice, the Office of Immigrant Services was able to move into larger space at 3227 Division St. in Knoxville in the same building as Columbus Home.

Lisa Healy, interim executive director of Catholic Charities, welcomed those in attendance.

“I’d like to extend a generous thank you to the Office of Criminal Justice programming for the grant that made this move possible,” she said. “We now have more space to serve more people, so we are very excited. We grew out of our space on Dameron Avenue fairly quickly. And what an incredible blessing it is to have more space, not just for our clients, but for our community and for Catholic Charities of East Tennessee.”

She also thanked Tom and Kris Ferriter, Catholic Charities board of trustees members, and Catholic Charities’ employees whose efforts and contributions made the move possible.

“As you can see, this move was clearly a team effort, and we’re so thankful that you are all here today to joyfully celebrate the growth of one of the biggest and most accredited programs here at Catholic Charities.”

The Office of Immigrant Services has locations in Chattanooga, Johnson City, and Knoxville and helped more than 300 people last year.

After the ribbon-cutting, members of the community were invited to tour the office and learn more about the work done through the Office of Immigrant Services.

The office provides low-cost assistance for those who cannot afford an attorney and assists with immigration issues such as status adjustments, petitioning for family members, renewing permits, applying for citizenship, affidavits, replacement of immigration documents, and referrals for social services.

For more information on the Office of Immigrant Services, go to

Alessandra Ceccarelli, program leader for the Office of Immigrant Services, believes the new space will allow Catholic Charities to continue its mission of helping the most vulnerable.

“The new space will allow us to do more of what we do best, which is reunite families, to allow families to remain together in the United States, to protect children and the most vulnerable among us, to help those who are facing deportation by receiving the assistance that they need through our remote access initiative, which allows individuals who live in East Tennessee to access qualified legal representation from attorneys in Memphis,” she said. “While it is incredible to believe that all of these things will happen in this very space, they do and will daily.”

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