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Refugee Resettlement Program

Worldwide Refugee Crisis

The 1951 Refugee Convention established the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which states that someone is a refugee “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

It is the responsibility of the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Migration & Refugees (PRM) to oversee America’s support of refugees overseas as well as the selection and transportation of refugees to the US, and their assignment to a local community for resettlement. Click here to learn more about the lengthy vetting process for refugees seeking admission to the US.

Local Resettlement Program

The International Institute of St. Louis, our only refugee sponsor in eastern and southwestern Missouri, resettles refugees as a subcontractor of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). Click here to view Institute sponsorships by year.

We meet refugees at the airport and transport them to their new homes, usually a rental unit. Depending on the needs of the refugee family, initial welcoming services can include registration for English classes for adults and public school for children, job program registration, community orientation, and healthcare access.

The US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Migration & Refugees (PRM) provides a modest per capita resettlement grant to each sponsoring agency to help address the refugees’ housing, food and other basic needs for up to 90 days after arrival. Refugees are required by PRM to repay their travel loans beginning less than six months after arrival in the US.

P. Ariel Burgess, VP of Client Services
314-773-9090, ext. 115

How You Can Help

Charitable Donations

Make a donation to the International Institute to support the Institute’s resettlement program. Donations of all sizes are essential. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation today.

Household and Personal Item Wish List

Donations can be dropped off starting August 31, 2021 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am-3pm in our gymnasium (access via Louisiana Ave.) Signs will be posted. Please review our current list of household and item needs before bringing your donations.

Gifts and in-kind donations of all sorts have helped us further our work, and brought opportunity and resources to families in need. Contributions large and small continue to make a difference, and we believe there is something every person can give to allow us to help even more families build better futures.

We have a very limited space to store, sort and distribute. We also are unavailable to pick up donations. Before you bring your items, please check the list above.

Please contact us for more information or if you want to organize a collection drive.


Learn more about our rewarding volunteer opportunities or fill out a volunteer application or contact John Worth.