Casa Marianella opened its doors on January 26, mind 1986. The Austin Interfaith Task Force for Central America initiated the project in response to the arrival of refugees fleeing from Central America to Austin. The house is named for Marianella García Villas, a Salvadoran attorney and human rights organization founder who battled against human rights violations in El Salvador until her assassination by government troops in 1983. Casa Marianella was donated by Ed Wendler to the Diocese of Austin for use as a shelter.