AUSTIN, Texas — The Refugee Services of Texas (RST) has started a restructuring process to address budget shortfalls and asking for public support to continue its services.
RST announced that since September 2021, the State of Texas has helped resettle more Afghanistan refugees than any other state in the country – a total of 10,594 – as part of an effort to provide 67,000 Afghani refugees protections and safety through the U.S. government.
The vast majority of the resettlement process was taken up by RST, which resettled a total of 2,720 refugees from Afghanistan and an additional 1,014 refugees from other countries.
Furthermore, RST said it has resettled more than 4,700 refugees in the last 18 months – leading the organization to contend with a "severe budget shortfall crisis," according to a press release.
In order to grapple with the budget shortfall, RST is reducing the size of its workforce by 45%, leaving the office with only 134 employees compared to its original 241.
This reduction in workforce has led RST to close its Fort Worth and Houston offices, affecting 73 employees at the locations. The remaining employees may be furloughed until the budget improves – however, all current refugee cases "will be served."
All incoming refugee arrivals will be paused for the next 120 days while the agency undergoes a restructuring effort to realign the budget and take up cases once again. In addition to realigning the budget, the agency hopes to raise $4 million by June 1 to alleviate the concerns.
"By addressing these immediate concerns, RST leadership expects the agency to weather the storm and emerge stronger and better able to serve new clients in the months ahead," RST said in its press release.
Those who would like to support RST can visit the agency's website to learn more about donating and getting involved. RST is a regional agency that says it relies on "everyday Texans" to provide the funding needed to continue assisting those entering the country in need.