The 13th annual benefit for Casa Marianella was nothing short of heartwarming, powerful and inspiring. Held at the Asian American Resource Center, Austinites gathered to show their support for the immigrant community. As an emergency homeless shelter in East Austin serving recently-arrived immigrants and asylum seekers from across the globe, Casa Marianella strives to create an environment where hope lives and provides resources for immigrants to become self sufficient once they leave Casa Marianella.

In 2016, Casa Marianella served 324 immigrants from all over the world, with a 93% success rate in resident transition to safe and secure housing upon exiting the shelter. The largest influxes of immigrants arriving at Casa came from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico and Somalia.

31 years ago in 1986, Casa Marianella was donated by Ed Wendler to the Diocese of Austin for use as a shelter. Each year, the Ed Wendler award is presented to an organization that goes above and beyond to care for the immigrant community. This year, the Ed Wendler award was presented to Dr. Nicholas Yagoda representing CommUnity Care, a medical organization that serves the Austin community with unparalleled compassion to improve the health of the community by increasing access to the best care possible- turning no patients away.

Following the award presentation, Joyce, a resident at Posada Esperanza of Casa Marianella, gave a heartwarming speech about her own personal experience immigrating from Africa to Central America, and eventually the United States. She spoke eloquently about the night she arrived at Posada, stating that it was the best night’s sleep she had had in a very long time. “I was so very grateful, so very satisfied…I have had so many nice times at Posada.”

Casa Marianella’s annual benefit reminds the community that together we can make a huge difference in the lives of people from all over the world who are starting their new journey in our country. Casa Marianella stands for many things: care, security, self sufficiency. But most importantly, Casa Marianella stands for hope and love. We thank everyone who has been a part of our journey thus far and we look forward to another year of great successes.