The state’s largest refugee resettlement agency will halt its services and begin laying off staff as it struggles to find enough funding to help clients going forward.
Refugee Services of Texas said it will continue to help existing clients, but it can no longer afford to take on new clients for the next 120 days.
The agency is now asking for Texans to help financially.
Hamed Sorosh and his wife fled Afghanistan last year and after six months of moving around, the agency helped Sorosh settle into his own apartment.
“When the team took us there, we were hugging each other and we were so happy. And as I said, I was about to cry,” Sorosh said. “Finally, I was saying, ‘okay, I’m in my new home.’”
Sorosh and his wife were given medical care, cultural education and even a job.
“The position I work in, the environment in which I work -- I love it,” Sorosh said.
Chris Kelly, with Refugee Services of Texas, said the agency became overwhelmed with clients after receiving a surge of migrants from Afghanistan and Ukraine over the past two years.
The agency is now serving 1,300 clients and it can no longer afford to take on more.
Kelly said the services refugees need are invaluable.
Unlike national agencies like Catholic Charities, Refugee Services of Texas relies on state-wide donations instead of funding from across the country.
To save money, it is closing an office in Dallas and Fort Worth and will begin placing staff members on furlough.
It’s a decision Kelly said is heartbreaking because Texan employees have created relationships with other statewide organizations.
Now, the agency is asking Texans for help.