AUSTIN (KXAN) — Catholic Charities of Central Texas recently announced it expanded its immigration services program to help “meet the needs of refugees looking to make Austin home.”

The organization said in a press release its new Refugee Resettlement Services program is dedicated specifically to helping refugees integrate into their new home.

According to the announcement, the program includes the following services:

  • Cultural adjustment services (e.g. integration with local school systems and navigating public transportation)
  • Employment placement and support services
  • Enrollment in refugee health insurance and cash assistance programs
  • Education system navigation within Austin ISD and Pflugerville ISD
  • Assistance signing up for government benefits programs such as TANF and SNAP

Catholic Charities of Central Texas said it also offers a variety of other programs to assist underserved groups. Therefore, those in the resettlement services program will also have easy access to all other services CCCTX provides, including the following:

  • Counseling Program
  • Disaster Response
  • Financial Stability
  • Immigration Legal Services
  • St. Gabriel’s Pregnancy and Parenting Program
  • St. Michael’s Veteran Services

These services are available to refugees, asylees, victims of trafficking, unaccompanied minors, and other qualified groups, according to Catholic Charities.

The group expects the program to help up to 650 refugees by October 2023.

Refugee Services of Texas closes offices

In a matter of weeks, the state’s largest refugee resettlement agency, Refugee Services of Texas (RST), recently went from suspending its operations to fully closing its offices statewide following a budget shortfall.

In its announcement, RST said the Austin refugee clients would be overseen by Episcopal Migration Ministries, a national resettlement agency. KXAN reached out to EMM about the announcement, and a spokesperson said, “EMM is working hard to reach out to clients impacted by RST’s closure to make sure that their needs are met–and is working to engage new local service providers.”

RST was the only resettlement agency in Austin, according to Russ Apfel, a co-founder of the local non-profit Austin Jews and Partners for Refugees.

Apfel served on the advisory board for RST and currently serves on the Austin Refugee Roundtable, which consists of community organizations working to help refugees. He said he was told the Catholic Charities of San Antonio would start helping any new refugee arrivals to Austin, and TXOR would help any of the clients that were currently being served by RST.