District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg highlighted San Antonio’s public and private sector collaboration in providing refugee relief programs at the World Refugee Day event held at St. Francis Episcopal Church last Saturday.
Through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, thousands of refugees from multiple continents have been brought to the United States each year, with a large proportion in Texas. Federal grants designated Catholic Charities as a lead agency responsible for transitioning refugees in San Antonio, with several partners from health organizations to employment agencies assist in efforts to secure housing, transportation, and jobs. More than 10,000 refugees have been resettled into San Antonio since the program began several years ago, according to agency estimates.
“We know that the approximately 50 million refugees across the world each have stories of hardship. The thousands who call San Antonio home share those experiences, no matter where they are from,” said Councilman Nirenberg. “However, their lives have reached a place of hope, thanks to organizations like Catholic Charities, the Center for Refugee Services, and many others throughout our city of San Antonio and entire country.”
Councilman Nirenberg has been regularly convening meetings with partner service providers in order to facilitate a space to collaborate, examine opportunities for efficiencies, and identify gaps in service.
“Our priority is to open lines of communication among groups with similar goals,” said Councilman Nirenberg. “By streamlining and coordinating, we will be able to increase the effectiveness of refugee services in our community. ”
During his “State of District 8” address earlier this year, Councilman Nirenberg stressed the reputation of San Antonio as a city that cares for its neighbors in times of need. “On this World Refugee Day, let’s celebrate what makes San Antonio a great American city: that for those seeking opportunity and hope, we are a city of welcoming neighbors.”
Civic groups worldwide annually celebrate World Refugee Day on June 20. World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations in 2000 to recognize and honor those who are forced to seek refuge from violence and persecution. Councilman Nirenberg is an appointee of the National League of Cities Large Cities Council.