Refugees are internationally homeless, but we help create safe and hopeful futures for our newest Austinites.
Our approach in working with everyone we serve, whether their homelessness has been local or international is similar: we begin with a stable home and construct layers of support to help people reach their full potential.
In refugees’ first six months in Austin, Caritas of Austin provides a safe home, cultural orientation, financial assistance, food, English language training, and employment assistance. Staff members also help families with accessing healthcare, school enrollment, and other community resources.
Caritas of Austin made me feel like a human being that has a right to live. I see a happy life in our future.
A refugee is a person who is forced to flee their home country due to war or persecution. A refugee is different than an immigrant in that they do not choose to migrate for better opportunities.
Last year, Caritas of Austin served 631 refugees from 16 countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Cameroon, Uganda, Syria, and Zambia.
Caritas of Austin began resettling refugees in 1974, with our first refugees coming from Cuba and Vietnam.
Yes, we remain more committed than ever to serving this resilient population and ensuring their homelessness ends once and for all when they arrive in Austin. There is much uncertainty with relation to government decisions and funding, so we are relying on the community’s financial support more than ever. Donate today.
Yes, when a refugee arrives in the United States, they are fully legal to live and work anywhere in the country indefinitely.
Refugees are the most intensely screened group of people entering the United States, and all screening happens prior to their arrival. The screening process is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The vetting process includes multiple background checks, biometric information collection, in-person interviews, and health screenings.
From the time a person gains refugee status approval from the United Nations, it takes on average 18-24 months before a person or family is resettled.
Refugees receive very limited financial assistance from the United States government and resettlement agencies can only provide case management assistance for six months. The top challenges refugees face include lack of English, transportation, adjusting to a new culture and norms, and the transferability of existing job skills and certification.
We rely on the community’s support to ensure refugees feel welcome in Austin and have the opportunity to thrive. You can volunteer directly with refugees, make a financial or gift card donation, provide Wish List items, tell your local and national representatives that you support refugee resettlement, or invite us to your local groups to educate others on refugees.