International Rescue Committee (IRC)

IRC Programs in San Diego


Meeting the basic needs for food, shelter and legal rights in the early, critical stages of resettlement.

Resettlement Programs: Through a partnership with the Department of State, the IRC assists over 10,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S. every year.   In San Diego, the IRC resettles over 1,000 refugees per year.  IRC staff and volunteers meet refugees at the airport and provide initial housing, furnishings, food, and clothing.   Additional services include employment assistance, health and social service referrals, vocational training, English-language classes, and orientation to their new community.  The IRC helps refugees to move towards self-sufficiency and integration.  To learn more about IRC's Resettlement Programs in San Diego, please click here:  

Economic Empowerment

Protecting, supporting and improving household livelihoods and financial security.

Early Employment Services:  The IRC provides vocational counseling, resume preparation, job search, and placement servicesto help refugees find their first job in America and achieve early economic self-sufficiency.  For more information:

Career Development:   For clients with professional backgrounds, the IRC helps them re-enter their professions in a timely manner.  For more information:  

Microenterprise:   The IRC Microenterprise Program supports refugees to start and expand their own businesses by providing intensive technical assistance and access to capital.  The IRC has aided in the start of over 170 businesses and 85 expansions.  For more information:

Financial Education:    The IRC Financial Education Program teaches refugees the basics of the US financial system and encourages good habits in budgeting, credit, tax preparation, and banking.  The IRC also operates an IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program during tax season.  For more information:

Food Security and Community Health: Participants in IRC’s community garden and farm training sites receive technical assistance and education to assist in either micro-enterprise or full-time employment opportunities.  IRC partners with the San Diego Farm Bureau to coordinate the City Heights Farmers' Market on Saturday  mornings.  IRC also coordinates the Downtown El Cajon Farmers' Market on Thursday afternoons. For more information:

Community Integration and Development

Strengthening communities and preparing individuals to participate fully in American society.

Immigration Services: The IRC offers high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services, assisting refugees and other vulnerable populations.  Services include representation in connection with filing of applications and petitions for adjustment of status, family reunification, naturalization and other immigration benefits.  The IRC also offers classes in English language and civics to prepare individuals for naturalization.  For more information, contact  Learn more:

Food Security and Community Health:  The IRC currently runs four garden and farming sites (New Roots Community Farm, City Heights Community and Remedy Garden, New Roots Aqua Farm and the REAP training center in Pauma Valley) to support refugees and community members from City Heights to grow healthy, affordable and culturally-appropriate food. IRC has been a leading advocate in local food policy and food justice efforts, particularly in support of community gardens and urban agriculture. For more information, click here or contact

Volunteer Program:  Over 500 volunteers per year assist in IRC's work in San Diego.  Volunteers participate in every program and allow IRC to provide personalized, efficient services to refugee clients.  Most positions require a weekly commitment for at least 12 weeks.  Learn more at

Community Outreach:  If you would like to request an IRC speaker to visit your class, club, or community meeting, please contact

Children, Youth and Education

Providing educational and developmental opportunities that build the essential academic, personal and social skills needed to succeed.

Youth Programs:  IRC provides after school academic assistance and enrichment activities for refugee teens whose education has often been interrupted by years of war and living in refugee camps.  Activities include three hours of structured activites, including homework help, English as a Second Language classes, arts, sports, and other enrichment activities each day after school.  For more information about IRC's Youth Programs in San Diego, click here or contact

Back to the IRC in San Diego