The IRC in Boise, ID

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture and immigrants seeking citizenship to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. These individuals have survived against incredible odds. The IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors and local volunteers to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities. In Boise and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.

Who are refugees and why are they arriving in Boise?

Refugees are people fleeing violence and persecution—in DR Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to move their lives forward.

The United States has a long tradition of sheltering those fleeing conflict and persecution. Once refugees have been identified by the United Nations refugee agency and cleared for resettlement, the U.S. government works with the IRC and nine other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Out of the nearly 30 million refugees in the world, fewer than 1% are considered for resettlement worldwide.

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 and a community’s ability to provide medical services. However, as legal U.S. residents, refugees may live in any city and state they choose.

Each year, the IRC in Boise formally consults with the state refugee coordinator, medical service providers who work with refugees, the Boise city police, the Boise and Meridian school districts and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, to make sure our civic systems can support all the refugees we hope to welcome.  We meet quarterly with the governor's office as well.

Learn more about how refugee resettlement works.

How does the IRC help refugees in Boise?

The IRC in Boise helps refugees remake their lives.  We teach them what to expect in the U.S., which includes the mundane, like operating washing machines and ovens, to the profound, like what is credit and what are U.S. laws.  We teach refugees to advocate for themselves to get and keep jobs. We teach employers about the strengths that refugee employees bring.  We teach U.S. history to refugees seeking to pass the citizenship exam and become U.S. citizens.

Refugees are greeted and welcomed at the airport by IRC staff and volunteers to ensure their transition is as comfortable as possible. The IRC also makes sure newly arrived refugees receive:

  • A furnished home
  • Help with rent
  • Health care
  • Nutritious, affordable food
  • English language classes
  • Help building job, computer and financial literacy skills
  • Education for their children
  • Social services and community support
  • Legal services toward residency and citizenship

Initial casework occurs in the first 90 days of arrival, but certain programs such as extended services, career development, immigration and housing can extend beyond that initial 90 day period.

Our programs in Boise:

  • Resettlement: Meeting the basic needs for food, shelter and legal rights in the early, critical stages of resettlement.
  • Economic empowerment: Protecting, supporting and improving household livelihoods and financial security.
  • Extended services: Extended support and mental health services on a referral basis. 
  • Immigration: Legal immigration services on sliding scale fee based rates.


What services does the IRC provide to the wider community?

Local community members in Boise can engage with the IRC in multiple ways. We provide:

  • Immigration services to all members of the community who need them in different places across the state
  • Refugee 101 presentations to civic, church, school and other groups
  • Refugee services Q&A
  • Policy briefings on areas of high interest in refugee resettlement
  • Contact between service providers and qualified interpreters
  • Internship programs 
  • Monthly volunteer orientation - reach out to [email protected]


How can I help refugees in Boise?

There are many ways that you can get involved with the IRC’s work in Boise. You can:

Donate: Give a tax-deductible financial contribution either via the website or sent to our office.

Volunteer opportunities: Read the steps you need to go through to become an IRC volunteer and see our current list of volunteer opportunities.

Internship openings: We have three internship cohorts each year: spring, summer and fall. 

Spread the word: Stay connected via our newsletter, follow us on Facebook and ask others to do the same!

What do refugees contribute to Boise?

Refugees give Boise perspectives from all over the world. They give us food, goods and jobs in their thriving local businesses. Refugees give us music and art, which are so richly displayed at World Refugee Day and the World Village Festival. Refugees give Boise a richness of spirit, and the constant opportunity to learn.

Who can I contact to get in touch with the IRC in Boise?

Emily Williams, Development and Community Engagement Manager 

([email protected])

Emmy Power, Grants and Community Engagement Coordinator 

([email protected])

Pippa Balogh, Volunteer Coordinator

([email protected])


Welcome from our director

Tara peters headshot 2

For nearly 20 years, we’ve had the honor of welcoming refugees and other immigrants to Idaho. Our goal is to support individuals and families to rebuild their lives and become integrated members of our community. Thank you for your interest in learning more and supporting our new neighbors – we couldn’t do this work without the support of the greater Boise community!

Tara Peters
Executive Director, IRC Boise

Our impact


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


people were assisted to become new U.S. citizens.

The IRC offers high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services and citizenship assistance in cities across the U.S.

Learn about immigration


Our economic empowerment support includes financial coaching, vocational training and asset building.

people with training to help them build careers and income.

Learn more