Statement of Aaron Rippenkroeger, President and CEO, Refugee Services of Texas regarding Hurricane Harvey

Refugee Services of Texas stands with the global community in support of the thousands of people whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey this past week.  The damage and heartache from this natural disaster will remain with all Texans--and all Americans--for months and years to come. 

While the devastation is great and the recovery will be long, we have seen yet again that America is at its best when we unite to serve those in need.  Individuals and families from countries and cultures around the world have responded to help one another throughout the storm, including those who came to Houston having fled war, persecution and other natural disasters. 

As always, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) will be dedicating itself to assisting those displaced by this dramatic event.  Guided by our 40-year old mission and the principles of human compassion and dignity, RST assists refugees, immigrants and all those who have been displaced and supports them in integrating and thriving in their communities.  We are supported in this effort by thousands of volunteers across Texas and supporters from around the world.  We responded to the mass displacement of people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, assisting native-born and new American families in transition and throughout the stabilization and recovery process and we will do so again now. 

RST has already begun to mobilize resources at each of our Texas locations to assess and serve the needs of our impacted clients and other displaced families in the Greater Houston area and in the metropolitan areas around Texas welcoming evacuees. 

Our first priority has been to ensure that all those in need have access to real-time, essential information on obtaining shelter, food, medical care and other basic necessities and we will keep comprehensive online resources public and updated in the months to come here.          

There is also an urgent need for financial support to assist displaced families with other immediate needs in the weeks to come as they return home or integrate into a new location.  We have established an online donation portal dedicated to Hurricane Harvey relief for this purpose.

Moving forward, RST will be working closely with our local, state and national partners to ensure that the voice of Harvey survivors are heard in the weeks and months to come as their future support needs are identified.

There is no question that the recovery from this disaster will take years and Refugee Services of Texas will remain committed to this effort with open hearts and a welcoming spirit, supporting displaced families in their journey to rebuild their lives in Texas.

Thank you for your support,
 
Aaron