Casa Marianella’s 14th annual benefit was one big family reunion full of fun, fellowship, heartwarming stories and inspiring speeches. Austinites gathered on the 25th of April at the Asian American Resource Center to show their support for the immigrant community.

Here at Casa Marianella, we strive to create an environment where hope lives while promoting self sufficiency and providing hospitality to recently-arrived immigrants and asylum seekers from across the globe. Casa provides food, shelter, legal services and ESL classes (among other resources) to help immigrants on a path to independence.

In 2017, a total of 342 homeless immigrants and refugees received housing, food, and full supportive services. Casa has a 91% success rate in transitioning residents to safe and affordable housing upon exiting the shelter. 77% of our agency residents were seeking asylum or had been granted asylum. We’ve also launched a new hosting program, expanding the reach of services to the community!

This year, the Ed Wendler award was presented to Refugee Services of Texas. Each year this award for Outstanding Service to the Immigrant Community is presented to an organization that goes above and beyond to provide care for immigrants. “Founded in 1978, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) is a social-service agency dedicated to providing assistance to refugees and other displaced persons fleeing persecution. RST provides services to hundreds of refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking, and related vulnerable populations from over 30 different countries of origin each year. Originating in Dallas, RST now has service centers in Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston.”

Following the award presentation, a trailer for Jason Outenreath’s new documentary “They Live Here, Now” was shown. The film premiered at SXSW this past March and is an intimate portrait into the lives of residents at Casa Marianella.

Then Jennifer Long (Executive Director) gave an update on the happenings at Casa Marianella and Posada Esperanza over the past year:


Casa’s annual benefit reminds us that together we can make a difference in the lives of those from all over the world who have started their new journey in the US. Casa Marianella stands for many things, including care, security and independence. But most of all, Casa stands for hope, love and community. And we are so thankful for all who have been a part of this journey with us!

Our beloved ESL Teachers (PC: The ESL Coordinator)

Former resident Eden shares her story