Nonprofits scramble to help refugees after Refugee Services of Texas closes

Many refugees are left in limbo after Refugee Services of Texas closed its doors because of budget shortfalls

Other organizations that work with refugees are scrambling to keep up with the influx of needs, much of which they don't have the manpower or resources for. 

Joshua Ramjaane, the founder of Ramjaane Joshua Foundation, was born a refugee in Congo. His parents left Rwanda before the 1994 Rwanda genocide. He moved to the U.S. seven years ago and started the nonprofit.

"It's a passion, it's something that affects me the whole of my life, so I know when people struggle, the way they're struggling," he said.

The Ramjaane Joshua Foundation is housed in the Westover Hills Church of Christ. The nonprofit regularly helps immigrants and refugees with things like English and computer skills classes and job applications.

Ever since Refugee Services of Texas closed its doors, the foundation has almost doubled the refugees they're helping, some with just basic needs, since many haven't been able to get their aid checks from RST.

"They were crying. They said, 'how are we going to survive? How are we going to live? What is next?,'" Ramjaane said. 

FOX 7 reached out to RST. They referred us to Episcopal Migration Ministries, which is supposed to take over RST's Austin clients. We have not heard back from them. Their full press release can be found here.

"It's not easy to go tell somebody things will be okay when you know it's tough. They need money, they need food, they need rent, they need transportation, but you don't have that, because it's beyond us," Ramjaane said.


He says they need volunteers, funds, and a storage facility to keep donations.

"We need everything. We need people, first of all. I would love my fellow Americans to come and support immigrant refugees, these people, they are suffering," Ramjaane said.

Rebecca Baker has been a volunteer for 20 years.

"As an American growing up here, I get an opportunity to enter their world in just a small way and be able to hear their stories, where they've come from, and just expand my worldview," she said.

She visits refugee families and says many fear for the future.

"They are so scared of being evicted, they have no food, they need the basics of food and rent, they're not able to get jobs yet, because their English," she said. "These people come here expecting their children to be able to go to school, have a better life, opportunity for them to - they hear of America all their lives, and it's a dream come true for them to get to come to America, and then they get here, and they're like, 'wow, this is not what I expected.' We just want to give them that hope that it's going to get better."

If you would like to help out, click here.