More Than Welcome is committed to helping refugees displaced from their homes.

Political, economic, and environmental extremes contribute to the vast numbers of refugees seeking compassion and settlement in our area. Many have faced physical and emotional trauma in addition to massive cultural barriers upon arrival. We strive to provide humanitarian aid and stability to these people when they need it the most.

Texas is among the top states to receive the largest volume of refugees; approximately 10% of total arrivals in the U.S. from 2010-2019 and 8% in 2021. Since 2000, Austin, Texas has accumulated about 12,000 refugees. The status of “refugee” is determined by the UNHCR; they submit referrals to the U.S. or other countries after determining the best location for refugee resettlement. The average wait period for an application is 10-26 months. After interviews, background checks, and medical examinations, applications are approved (or denied) and referrals are made to resettlement agencies such as Regional Services of Texas (RST). Asylees are not classified as refugees and are not given the same support; however, both statuses automatically grant permits to work. This data and information enables More Than Welcome to forecast needs and to properly align essential resources. – Elias Busuego

Demographics, volunteer interest levels, and available resources

On April 26th, 2022, a survey was conducted primarily in the Austin Area, but extended to participants outside of Texas. The purpose of this survey was to gauge the willingness of the local population to support refugees and assess the resources available. 72% (of 82 respondents) are “interested” and willing to support refugees (22% uncertain and 6.1% not interested). With an option to select multiple ways to support, 89% of respondents were willing to donate household goods, food, clothing, furniture, etc. The second highest option for support was spreading the word or sharing information (54.9%). 31.7% of respondents were from the Austin Area, 14.6% from Central Texas, 51.2% outside of Texas, and 2.5% outside of Central Texas (within Texas). 51.2% of respondents are currently involved in other volunteer work and 11% know someone who is seeking asylum. Given that the Austin Area has evolved into a more diverse population, the general willingness of respondents to support and share information is a positive indicator. – Elias Busuego

When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for  you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

—Leviticus 19:33, 34