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What is New in Hospitality at Casa Juan Diego in Houston

Artist: Angel Valdez

Casa Juan Diego is a a part of the Catholic Worker movement. We depend totally on donations We do not receive government funding. We are a very few people working without salaries.

Casa Juan Diego’s hospitality includes new refugees arriving every day.  We have been at capacity especially for the past eight months. We can only give people 10 days in our house of hospitality.

We have to refuse people who have been in the U. S. more than a month and sometimes cannot even accept the newest arrivals because of space. We check their immigration papers for the date of arrival.

People not being served in Houston:

  1. Crisis in Houston for homeless families. Casa Juan Diego cannot receive immigrants and refugees who have been living in Houston and then become homeless. Where can we refer these families, especially those with young children? Rentals are more expensive each day and more people are being evicted.
  2. Casa Juan Diego can no longer receive battered immigrant women who have been living in Houston. They are referred to the Houston Area Women’s Center,

Many people find Casa Juan Diego on their own, more people than we can handle. Or people in the Houston community find new refugees on the streets and bring them to Casa Juan Diego.

What the City Could Do to Help (In addition to providing more housing)

Open a service to help people apply for work permits (as other cities are doing). Application for a work permit is not complicated in the way an asylum application would be. Those eligible (from selected countries) for the new work permit application process need to have been given parole at the border, have received an I-94 form, and have identification (such as a passport).

The new refugees who receive work permits would be a great resource for employers in the community.