International Rescue Committee (IRC)

IRC Programs in Seattle


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

Reception & Placement: Through a partnership with the Department of State, the IRC assists over 10,000 refugees to resettle in the U.S. every 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 in 26 U.S. cities.

Economic Empowerment

Protecting, supporting and improving household livelihoods and financial security.

Early Employment Services: The IRC in Seattle provides vocational counseling, resume preparation, job search and placement services, and financial assistance for basic needs with the goal of helping refugees find their first job in America and achieve early economic self-sufficiency.

Pre-Employment Instruction:  Our pre-employment classes help refugees develop the language and vocational skills needed to identify job opportunities and secure and maintain employment.  

Social Services: The IRC in Seattle improves the economic self-sufficiency of refugees by helping them access healthcare, housing, translation services and emergency services for up to four years after their arrival.

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. In helping refugees to attain citizenship, the IRC strengthens communities and encourages civic integration and participation.

Community Integration Workshops: The IRC in Seattle works with community partners to offer a variety of workshops that help refugees gain the skills needed to become independent members of the community.  Workshops cover topics such as financial literacy, basic computer skills, emergency preparedness, health & wellness and CPR. 

Volunteer Program:  With over five times the number volunteers to IRC staff in the United States, volunteers amplify IRC’s ability to address the needs of refugees while insuring that they feel welcomed into their new communities.  Every year almost 200 community volunteers help support the IRC in Seattle’s programs by setting up apartments for new arrivals, registering children for school, helping refugees find employment, preparing them for interviews, and more.

Family Mentor Program:  Family Mentors are volunteers that meet with assigned refugee families to practice English, assist with unfamiliar tasks and activities, and provide a helping hand to welcome them into the community.

Refugee Support Network (RSN):  The IRC in Seattle is a proud member of the RSN, an AmeriCorps VISTA project which provides capacity building support to seven agencies serving refugees in King County. 

Namaste Community Garden: As an essential part of our broader resettlement efforts, the Namaste Garden enables refugees to celebrate their heritage and nourish themselves and their neighbors by planting strong roots—literally—in their new communities. Namaste Garden grows from a partnership between The IRC's New Roots program and St. Thomas Parish in Tukwila. Through New Roots and a range of other programs, we are helping refugees establish a strong future for themselves and Seattle.

Health and Wellness

Promoting wellness and ensuring access to healthcare services that address physical and psychological needs.

Health and Wellness Program: In 2011, the IRC began to provide extended case management to medically needy refugees.  The initial goals focused on the extension of individual case management. In the first year 96 clients were served.  As the program evolved, additional needs emerged. In order to address critical issues, the IRC began to offer health and wellness workshops, expanded resources through new community partnerships, and coordinated ongoing support groups, including a knitting circle for elderly and disabled women and an adolescent empowerment group for refugee girls.


Promoting durable solutions and ensuring life-saving protection of vulnerable populations.

Washington Anti-Trafficking Response Network (WARN): The IRC in Seattle is the lead agency in WARN, a coalition of community-based organizations providing victim advocacy and outreach relating to human trafficking.  WARN provides comprehensive services to victims of human trafficking and conducts trainings and educational activities to raise awareness on the topic throughout the community. 

Children, Youth and Education

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

Newcomer School Readiness Program: The Newcomer School Readiness Program prepares newly arrived refugee youth for integration into the US school system. The program focuses on the skills needed to succeed in school such as how to open a locker, navigate school structures, and work within groups.

Teen Refugees United and Empowered (TRUE):  TRUE is a volunteer led peer group for young refugee women. The group provides a forum for refugee women between the ages of 12-19 to access additional help as they integrate within their new community.