The IRC in Elizabeth, NJ

The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants 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 Elizabeth and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.

Who are refugees?

Refugees are people fleeing violence and persecution—in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to move their lives forward.

Why are refugees arriving in Elizabeth and other parts of northern New Jersey?

With funds provided through the Department of State's Reception and Placement (R&P) program, refugees are provided with safe, sanitary and affordable housing and basic furniture and household supplies upon arrival in New Jersey. Until refugees become self-sufficient, immediate needs may include access to healthcare, food, transportation and clothing. Refugees may also need assistance obtaining employment, enrolling their children in school and cultural orientation to effectively navigate their new communities.

How does the IRC help refugees and immigrants in New Jersey?

The IRC in New Jersey offers a variety of programs to meet the needs of newly arrived refugees, individuals granted asylum or humanitarian parole, and the local immigrant population:


  • Reception and Placement services for refugees within the first 90 days of arrival include access to safe housing, culturally-appropriate food, health screenings, cultural orientation and referrals for English training, employment assistance and other benefits.
  • Intensive case management up to one year post-arrival for refugees with medical and mental health needs.
  • Ongoing support services as needed up to five years post-arrival.
  • Family reunification through resettlement: Qualifying family members in the U.S. can file an AOR (Affidavit of Relationship) to bring relatives to the United States through the refugee program. 

Economic Empowerment

  • Employment services: Vocational counseling, résumé preparation, job readiness training, 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 self-sufficiency. 
  • Career development and professional mentorship: Refugees proficient in English and seeking to reenter their chosen career fields in the U.S. are paired with professional mentors and provided ongoing placement, training and professional certification support.

Education & Learning

  • English classes for speakers of other languages (ESOL) targeted for refugees, but open to all adult immigrants in the community as space is available. 
  • Job readiness classes focused on U.S. work culture and preparing refugees for employment in their new community.
  • Civics and citizenship classes to support legal permanent residents in the process of becoming U.S. citizens.
  • Refugee youth program serving over 100 school aged youth with assessments of educational background, school enrollment, parent engagement, language interpretation, and coordination with school staff to promote academic success and psychosocial adjustment. 


  • Accredited by the U.S. Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals, IRC staff is fully qualified to provide high quality assistance at low cost to refugees and other immigrants. 
How can I help refugees in New Jersey?

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

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

Fundraise for the IRC in Elizabeth: Create your own DIY peer fundraiser here to engage and involve your community with raising funds for the IRC in Elizabeth. You can also use the "Team Fundraiser" feature to fundraise as a team!

Volunteer Opportunities: Learn how to become an IRC volunteer and take a look at current opportunities.

Internship Opportunities: See our current list of internship opportunities.

Spread the Word: Consider hosting your own Fundraising Campaign (on- or offline). Stay connected via our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and ask others to do the same!

Corporate Engagement Opportunities: We invite our partners to organize corporate volunteer opportunities.

Grocery Shopping and Food Delivery: IRC works with a network of community partners to deliver weekly groceries to families as food assistance benefits are processed. If you’re available to purchase or deliver to families in Union, Hudson or Essex Counties, please email Westfield Fun Club. If you’re based in Jersey City, please email Welcome Home Jersey City. If you’re available to help with grocery delivery in other areas of NJ, please complete IRC’s general interest form.

Apartment Setups and Household Supply Donations: IRC works with a network of community partners to set up new apartments for refugee families, mostly in Hudson, Union and Essex counties. Email One World One Love to get notified when new apartments are ready for setup and when household supplies are needed.

Furniture Donations: IRC cannot accept or store donations of furniture. We partner with The Warehouse NJ to furnish new homes for refugee families

Other In-Kind Donations: IRC collects specific donations based on needs of current families and logistics capacity of staff. Please consider purchasing items off our current Amazon Wish Lists for Beds and Mattresses, Car Seats and Other Items in partnership with Jersey Cares.

Other Ways to Get Involved: Please complete this form to tell us how you’re interested in helping newly arriving refugees who are making a home in New Jersey, including co-sponsoring a family, hiring refugees or offering housing.

What do refugees contribute to New Jersey?

Once they acclimate to their new environment, refugees often thrive and contribute to their communities, building careers, purchasing homes and gaining citizenship.

Welcome from our director

Photo of Executive Director Tina Marie Lopez

For forty plus years the team at the International Rescue Committee in Elizabeth, New Jersey has been providing refugees, asylees, and other immigrants vital direct services. Those forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in an unfamiliar society find solace and opportunity in the various offerings by the New Jersey International Rescue Committee team including case management, employment assistance, youth education programming, and much more. Our goal is to aid these new Americans in their journey to safety, stability, and self-sufficiency. The individuals we aid to integrate and resettle add to the diverse communities that make up the unique richness of the cultures of New Jersey.

Tina Marie Lopez
Director, IRC New Jersey

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