Allison Clayton (Houston Welcomes Refugees Foundation) & Glenn Buckley, Club President


‘Houston Welcomes Refugees’ Rep Tells Rotarians about Agency’s Work

Houston resettles more international refugees than any other American city, Magnolia Rotary Club members learned Tuesday.   The speaker was Allison Clayton, of the local resettlement agency Houston Welcomes Refugees.

               Refugees coming to Houston are first screened by a United Nations agency, which determines the best country in which each refugee or family should be resettled.  The decision is based on a variety of factors, including language and whether the refugee has family in a particular country.  When they are referred to the U.S., three American government agencies work to determine where they are best resettled.

               Recently, about 40% of the refugees resettled in Houston have been Afghans, many of whom worked with American forces when they were active in Afghanistan, Miss Clayton reported.  

               The refugees are met upon arrival by volunteers, who are recruited through many local churches, and taken to apartments that have already been leased and furnished.  The volunteers get them basically acquainted with their new neighborhood, and other volunteers undertake to mentor them long term and establish personal relationships.  Volunteers also help them find work, as the government has already approved them for employment in the U.S.

               Although the government provides some financial aid, the goal is to make the refugees self-supporting as soon as possible, Miss Clayton said.

               The club speaker Dec. 12 will be Jeffrey Klein of the Tomball Regional Health Foundation.  As always, non-members are invited to enjoy lunch with the Rotary Club of Magnolia to hear Klein.  Lunch is served at 11:30 and is $12 for guests. 

               The Rotary Club of Magnolia meets Tuesdays at noon at the Magnolia Event Center on FM1488.  Please join us to learn more about the activities of our community service club.