The IRC in Salt Lake City, UT
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 Salt Lake City 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 Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Afghanistan, and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to move their lives forward.
Why are refugees arriving in Salt Lake City?
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 eight other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Out of the nearly 20 million refugees in the world, fewer than 1 percent 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.
How does the IRC help refugees in Salt Lake City?
Our programs are designed to ensure refugees thrive in America--whether ensuring children are enrolled in school, adults become self-reliant through employment or starting businesses, or families receive the acute 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 caseworkers 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
- 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 towards residency and citizenship
- Small business development
Our programs in Salt Lake City:
- 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.
- Community Integration and Development: Strengthening communities and preparing individuals to participate fully in American society.
- Health and Wellness: Promoting wellness and ensuring access to healthcare services that address physical and psychological needs.
- Children, Youth and Education: Providing educational and developmental opportunities that build the essential academic, personal and social skills needed to succeed.
What services does the IRC provide to the wider community?
The IRC welcomes the opportunity to share our work and the refugee resettlement process through presentations to corporations, civic or religious groups. We’re also happy to discuss other points of engagement like DIY fundraising, in-kind donations drives, or group volunteer activities.
Learn more about our economic empowerment programs and how they benefit our community:
- Spice Kitchen Incubator.
- Sunnyvale Farmers Market.
- New Roots.
- East African Refugee Goat Project of Utah.
How can I help refugees in Salt Lake City?
You can support our work and the refugees we serve in Salt Lake City by:
Donating: Give a tax-deductible financial contribution either via the website or sent to our office.
Volunteering: Read the steps you need to go through to become an IRC volunteer and see our current list of volunteer opportunities here.
Interning: See our current list of internship opportunities here.
Volunteering as a group: Interested in getting your team involved in IRC project? Click here to see the list of current group opportunities.
Gathering new or like-new items for refugee families: We’re collecting furniture, household items, home goods and more for newly arrived refugees. See how you can help.
Spreading 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!
Joining GenR: GenR, short for Generation Rescue, is a group of young and influential humanitarians between the ages of 25 and 40 who have joined forces with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help people survive and rebuild their lives. Learn more here.
Learning more: Employ refugees, connect us to affordable housing options, order food from Spice Kitchen Incubator refugee entrepreneurs or visit our Sunnyvale Farmers Market. Learn more by emailing us at [email protected].
What do refugees contribute to Salt Lake City?
Once they acclimate to their new environment, refugees often thrive and contribute to their communities, building careers, purchasing homes, gaining citizenship.
Salt Lake City celebrates refugees at Journey to the Wasatch
On April 16th, more than 150 humanitarians joined the IRC in Salt Lake City to celebrate 25 years of welcoming refugees in Utah and take action to support refugees and new Americans in our community.
Refugee Youth Interpreter Program pilot begins in Salt Lake City
In the first pilot program of its kind in the U.S., 15 refugee and new American youth at a Salt Lake area high school became interpreters—easing the language barrier between teachers and new American parents.
VITA makes tax filing easy and accessible for refugee families
This tax season, the IRC in Salt Lake City’s economic wellbeing program coordinated VITA tax clinics aimed to help refugee and new American populations navigate the U.S. tax system.
Across the nation, the IRC’s U.S. Programs resettles over 10,000 refugees each year. And here in Utah we are doing our part, resettling over 500 refugees from more than a dozen countries. Refugees bring a wealth of talent and resilience that add cultural richness and diversity to the fabric of our community. The humanitarian goodwill and spirit of volunteerism in Utah have been tremendous, clearly a tribute to the citizens in our state. Refugees are welcome in Utah, and it is a privilege to be part of this dynamic and welcoming community.Patrick PoulinPatrick Poulin is director of the IRC's Salt Lake City office.
refugees and special immigrant visa recipients resettle in the U.S.
Learn how refugees are selected and securely vetted to come to the U.S.How resettlement works
refugees, asylees and other immigrants with supportive programs.
The United States has a long tradition of offering refuge to those fleeing persecution and war.See where we work in the U.S.
refugee-owned small businesses get off the ground.
Learn why refugees are good for the economy.Watch our video