Where Can I Go to Help Refugees in Iowa?

It is our goal at Open Doors for Refugees to make information accessible about similar organizations that support newly arrived refugees in other states. Here you will find information about resources in Iowa.

To access the New Iowan Resource Directory, a list created by the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa of services and programs for refugee and immigrant communities in Iowa, click here: RACI New Iowan Resource Directory

This list is an ongoing effort. Know of another organization in Iowa that helps refugees make a home there? Email [email protected] to let us know!

Multi-County Organizations

Lutheran Services in Iowa

This organization serves the following counties: Des Moines and Woodbury County

“Welcome” is something LSI has been expressing to refugees since World War II. LSI’s Immigrant and Refugee Community Services continue to welcome Iowa’s newest neighbors by providing education, family services, and economic development programs to help them get started on their path to citizenship and building a new life in Iowa.

World Relief

This organization serves the following counties: Scott County (Iowa), Rock Island County (Illinois)

World Relief Quad Cities is a not-for-profit agency providing services to refugees and immigrants in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa. We seek to provide financial, emotional, cultural, and spiritual support to refugees – victims of war and persecution around the world – who are being placed in the Quad Cities.

Nisaa African Family Services

This organization serves the following counties: Des Moines and Johnson County

Nisaa African Family Service’s mission is to end domestic violence and sexual assault in African Immigrants and Refugee communities by promoting social, economic and political self-determination of all women; it seeks to build healthy communities through transformative justice and social change.

Shalom Community Impact Center

This organization serves the following counties: Polk and Dallas County

Shalom Community Impact Center endeavors to inspire new Iowans to become full participants in their local and national communities. We work to empower refugee and immigrant families by providing services and programs which assist with integration and adaptation in their new home country to ensure upward mobility in the areas of education, employment, and health and well being.

Pottawattamie County

Lutheran Family Services

LFS New American programs provide high-quality direct support services for refugees, immigrants, asylees, and victims of international human trafficking. LFS caseworkers are knowledgeable and skilled in case management, advocacy, cultural orientation, education, immigration legal services, employment, and job readiness training.

Des Moines County

United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

The USCRI Des Moines field office has been welcoming refugees from around the world to central Iowa since 2010. Refugees resettled in Des Moines primarily come from Afghanistan, Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria. Newly arrived refugees receive a comprehensive set of services including housing placement, cultural orientation, school enrollment, healthcare coordination, and employment preparation and placement. USCRI Des Moines also serves survivors of human trafficking and refugees and immigrants who have been in the U.S. for longer periods of time.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Catholic Charities Refugee Services works through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the U.S. State Department. Our agency resettles clients that have family or close friends living in our area. We have 90 days to settle families for their new life in Iowa. Every family is unique and requires a variety of services. Health exams, job placement assistance, school enrollment, language classes, and bus training are just some of the many tasks that have to be completed during the first three months. We want to get the entire family off to a great start so they can be successful.

Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa

RACI is a voluntary membership network of service providers, government agencies, religious groups, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions that work together to better serve the needs of the growing refugee population in central Iowa. We provide targeted assistance in the areas of health, housing and transportation, interpretation, education, legal, along with advocacy at federal, state, and local government level.

African Immigrants & Refugees Transition services

African Immigrants & Refugees Transition services (AIRTS) is a non profit organization founded by and for immigrants and refugees from Africa living in Iowa. since 2016 we have been providing Immigrants and refugees the resources they need to successfully settle in their new home/community.

Our mission is to help African Immigrants and refugee families acquire skills they need to function effectively as workers, students and community members.

Our vision is changing the lives of all African Immigrants and refugees.

The Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC)

EMBARC was founded in 2012 by refugees from Burma for refugees based on the belief that sustainable change comes from a community empowered to help themselves. We are Iowa’s first and only refugee-led service organization. Our mission is to empower the community toward self-sufficiency through advocacy, education, and community development throughout Iowa. Our vision is to see refugee families thrive in Iowa with the skills, resources, and support needed for life. Our culturally specific programs include a wide range of education in parenting, interpreting services, advocacy programs, and access to housing, food, job opportunities, mentoring, and more. It’s all about building stronger refugee communities, which helps build a stronger Iowa.

Linn County

Catherine McAuley Center

The Refugee & Immigrant Services Program provides refugee resettlement services as an affiliate of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), as well as a wide range of educational and support services specifically for the unique needs of refugees and immigrants. The Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) serves more than 250 refugees each year.