The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Atlanta creates opportunities for refugees and immigrants to integrate and thrive in Georgia communities. Since opening in 1979, the IRC's locally funded office in Atlanta has welcomed more than 28,000 refugees from over 65 countries to resettle in communities across the state. A committed staff of more than 100 professionals work together with volunteers to assist families in reuniting and rebuilding their lives in the greater Atlanta area. The IRC in Atlanta offers a broad range of programs including resettlement and case management services, adult education classes, youth programs covering ages 5 to 24, employment assistance, asset building resources, community health response programs, and immigration services, all of which serve more than 4,000 clients each year.
Refugees are human beings fleeing violence and persecution—in Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to rebuild their lives and contribute to their new communities.
The United States has a long tradition of welcoming those fleeing conflict and persecution, and refugees have been coming to Georgia for more than 40 years. Once refugees have been identified by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and cleared for resettlement, the U.S. government works with the IRC and eight other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Of the over 80 million humans displaced globally, fewer than one percent are considered for resettlement.
Refugees may be placed in a city where they have relatives or friends, or where there’s an established community that shares their language or culture. Other considerations include the cost of living, access to public transportation and existing networks of service agencies to provide additional support for integration.
The IRC in Atlanta provides a safe place to live, a furnished apartment, access to quality health care services, English and job skills classes, and employment services, to ensure refugees can successfully integrate into their new communities and achieve economic self-sufficiency. Atlanta community members make this work possible, through financial donations, in-kind contributions and volunteering.
Our programs are designed to help refugees integrate and thrive in communities across Georgia. We ensure children are enrolled in school, adults become self-sufficient through employment or starting businesses, and families receive the medical care they need to recover from trauma or illness. The IRC helps those in need to rebuild their lives and regain control of their future in their new home community.
Refugees are greeted and welcomed at the airport by IRC staff to ensure their transition is as comfortable as possible. The IRC also makes sure newly arrived refugees receive:
- A furnished home
- Rental assistance
- Health care
- Nutritious food
- English language classes
- Help building job, computer and financial literacy skills
- Education for school-aged children
- Case management and community support
- Immigration services towards residency and citizenship
The IRC in Atlanta provides the wider community with access to Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited representatives that assist in the completion of applications for naturalization, adjustment of status, family reunification and other immigration benefits. Contact us.
In partnership with CORE Georgia, the IRC in Atlanta offers COVID-19 vaccinations to all DeKalb County residents through weekly rotating mobile vaccine sites. Learn more.
The IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development program is open to resettled refugees, Special Immigrant Visa recipients, asylees, Diversity Visa recipients, and naturalized U.S. citizens who speak English and are looking to advance their careers. Contact us.
Additionally, the IRC in Atlanta has a variety of adult education programs available to community members who want to improve their English skills or prepare for the U.S. Citizenship Test. Contact us.
Thank you for your interest in supporting the IRC in Atlanta! Generous supporters from around the state donate their time, talent and resources to help refugees and immigrants integrate and thrive in Georgia and we could not do this work without their support! Below are ways that YOU can get involved in making #RefugeesWelcome!
Donate: When you donate to the IRC in Atlanta, you provide emergency financial support for families to cover any unmet housing and medical costs. You support the distribution of food, school supplies, hygiene kits and other resources to new Americans arriving in Georgia. You invest in our local staff capacity—the heart of our essential programs and services—so there are compassionate and empathetic professionals ready to welcome families to their new home and help them secure employment, learn English, enroll in school and start to rebuild their lives. No donation is too small! GIVE HERE.
Volunteer: Support your new American neighbors by volunteering with the IRC in Atlanta. See a current list of volunteer opportunities here, and email [email protected] to sign-up for our next volunteer orientation.
HOME Team: HOME Teams are community groups of five or more people who match with a refugee family upon their arrival in Atlanta and walk alongside them as they adjust to their new home. HOME Teams work with IRC staff to provide housing, orientation, financial mentorship, and education in language and culture. These community groups can take many forms including local clubs, university communities, faith- based institutions, or community groups, sports teams, book clubs, and many more. If you would like more information on forming a HOME Team, let us know here!
Fundraise: Create your own personalized fundraising page with a goal of any amount to help our local, Atlanta-based staff to continue welcoming and serving refugees from crisis zones around the world. No goal is too small! We share instructions, best practices, messaging and graphics to help YOU get YOUR community involved with making #RefugeesWelcome in Georgia! Contact us to learn more or get started today with our Digital Fundraiser's Toolkit.
Collect: The IRC in Atlanta—in partnership with community members like you—ensures refugees have the physical resources they need to support their integration in their new communities. Help support our newest neighbors by purchasing items through our Amazon Wishlist or organizing a donation drive of critically needed goods. Email [email protected] for a current list of critically needed items, or check out our Donation Drive Volunteer opportunity to learn more! Due to capacity, the IRC in Atlanta is only able to accept donations of critically needed items. We cannot accept donations of clothing or furniture at this time.
Intern: Each semester we recruit over 40 interns to work across our programs, including in adult and youth education, employment, immigration, resettlement, administration and resource development. Interns gain hands-on experience in humanitarian work and are essential volunteers and members of #TeamIRC. Please see here for more information on how to apply for our internship program.
Advocate: Help ensure our state and our country remain welcoming to refugees and immigrants and join our team of volunteer advocates! Contact us to learn more.
Other Ways to Get Involved: There are many other ways to get involved, such as employing new Americans, helping to find affordable housing and attending local events. Please contact [email protected] to learn more!
Refugees have been contributing to the metro Atlanta region—and the entire state of Georgia—for more than 40 years. Refugees are new Americans who have made Georgia their home, and are our friends, family, teachers, healthcare workers, food suppliers, neighbors, and colleagues.
Not only do refugees bring with them the skills, talents and educational backgrounds that address the needs of Atlanta’s booming economy, they also add enormous cultural capital that encourages entrepreneurship and small business development. In fact, an estimated 31 percent of small enterprises and “Main Street” businesses in Georgia are founded by immigrants.
As refugees integrate within their communities, they earn wages, pay taxes, start businesses, buy homes and support the local economy. Over 85% of refugee households in Georgia are economically self-sufficient within six months of arrival; one of the best rates of any state. Refugees in Atlanta are an essential part of the continued diverse growth of the metro area economy.
For the latest on refugees in Georgia, check out the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA) 2020 Annual Report.
people in the U.S. received asylum and protection support.
IRC offices across the U.S. provide immediate aid--including food, housing and medical attention—among other support.Learn about resettlement and asylum