Guided by the principles of human compassion and dignity, Refugee Services of Texas welcomes refugees, immigrants, and other displaced people and supports them in integrating and thriving in their new communities.
We Work Across Texas:
Founded in 1978, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) is a social service agency dedicated to providing services to refugees and other displaced persons fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, and/or political opinion and also to the communities that welcome them. Through the agency’s home office in Dallas, RST provides services to hundreds of refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking and related vulnerable populations from over thirty different countries of origin each year via service centers located in Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.
To provide our clients with employment assistance, initial housing, household goods and furniture, case management, resources, referrals, education, and guidance to assist in establishing self-sufficient lives in Texas, RST works in partnership with volunteers, faith-based communities, social service groups, and businesses. RST is an affiliate of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Church World Service (CWS), and Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM).
Our five service centers have programs uniquely designed to assist refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking, and related vulnerable populations, helping them gain self-sufficiency as quickly as possible. Our programs are also tailored to meet the needs of the host communities as they welcome these newcomers. RST employs the use of a refugee management system to proactively meet the needs of our clients.
After applying for refugee status, individuals and families are screened, granted permission to resettle, and assigned to our agency by the U.S. Department of State. RST offers programs to assist refugees with basic needs and services during their initial resettlement to the United States. These programs provide various services including:
Refugee clients are provided with case management and assistance while they work to meet the challenges of transitioning to the local community.
The RST Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth service centers offer low-cost immigration services through Board of Immigration Appeals accredited representatives. These representatives assist clients with legal issues including status adjustment, naturalization, and family reunification.
Job readiness training and employment:
Finding employment is a vital step to self-sufficiency that presents unique challenges as our clients adjust to a new culture. Many come to the US from diverse educational and professional backgrounds. Though they often have the skills and experience required for jobs in their field of interest, they often need additional help with job searches, resume development, education and certifications, and interview skills. Employment services provide ways to secure employment and to become self-sufficient through:
For more information on employing refugees and to see a list of companies currently employing our clients, visit our Employing Refugees page.
English language training:
Some RST locations offer English as a Second Language classes, while others partner with outside organizations to provide these ESL classes to clients. Clients seeking employment are able to take advantage of the Language Partner Program (offered at select RST locations), which facilitates small group and one-on-one English sessions. Local volunteers are paired with refugee clients to assist them in learning basic English to increase their opportunities, and their success in the workplace.
Services for unaccompanied children (UAC):
Children who migrate alone have arrived to the U.S. in record numbers at the Texas border. By law, the United States Health and Human Services department must provide for the custody and care of unaccompanied migrant children. Most of these children come from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico. The number of girls arriving has increased due to increasing gender-based violence in Central America. These children often experience a dangerous journey from their countries of origin to escape violence or persecution. Many endure trafficking and abuse. Working with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS), the RST Houston Service Center recently implemented a program to provide case management, supportive services, advocacy, and donations to unaccompanied immigrant children (UAC) and their families.
Survivors of Trafficking Empowerment Program (STEP):
RST Austin is the leading agency in Central Texas providing services to survivors of human trafficking. Working closely with law enforcement agencies and the Central Texas Coalition against Human Trafficking, RST provides 24-hour support to identified survivors. This support includes short- and long-term services to ensure the survivors’ safety and long-term success.
Social Adjustment Services:
Clients are initially supported during their post-arrival transition period with limited-term assistance programs administered on-site. The Social Adjustment Services program provides long-term case management services for clients with emergency needs and difficulties acclimating to their new environment. This program focuses on dissolving barriers to self-sufficiency by promoting self-reliance, accessing services within the community, and advocating on behalf of clients.
Medical Case Management:
Our offices in Fort Worth and Austin are home to medical managers who work to dissolve barriers to better health, hygiene, and illness and injury care. We work with local community organizations to build long-term partnerships for better care, including access to specialists, equipment, and basic transportation to and from appointments. Our staff also work to arrange orientation classes to help clients adjust to the often confusing procedures regarding healthcare in the United States. These orientations include information about scheduling appointments, handling prescriptions, paying medical bills, using and getting insurance, and handling medical emergencies.
RST Austin’s Community Wellness Program provides counseling services at no cost to clients who, due to past trauma, may face difficulty adjusting.