The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), under the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, provides funding for supportive services programs, including social services, cash assistance and medical assistance for refugees who are resettled through the US Reception and Placement (R&P) program under the US Department of State. ORR provides funding to state governments which contract with local refugee resettlement agencies to provide services. In cases where a state government does not wish to participate in these programs, ORR may provide the funding through alternate channels.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR 45) 400.301, the Director of ORR is authorized to appoint a Replacement Designee to administer the provision of assistance and services to ORR-served populations when a state withdraws from the refugee resettlement program.Given the size Texas and the geographic spread of the refugee programs, the state was divided into four regions and two programs, and assigned six Replacement Designees (RRD).

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has selected four Regional Replacement Designees to administer the refugee resettlement program for the state of Texas, commencing operations on February 1, 2017. ORR has also chosen a Medical Replacement Designee (MRD) and a Designee for the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program (URD). The organizations designated are:

  • Region 1: Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, Midland - International Rescue Committee (IRC)
  • Region 2: Dallas, Fort Worth - Catholic Charities Fort Worth
  • Region 3: Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio - Refugee Services of Texas - Austin
  • Region 4: Houston - YMCA of Greater Houston
  • MRD: U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
  • URD: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The Replacement Designees make up the Texas Refugee Programs Coordinating Body and their partners are working to ensure that all ORR eligible populations have access to the critical resources needed to help them rebuild their lives in the Texas. STOR at YMCA of Greater Houston is the statewide database manager for all refugee services data collection.


Administration of Programs

Administration of Programs

Through contracts, the RRD provides funding to local agencies for supportive services programs including refugee support services, cash assistance, and enrollment and referral to medical assistance for any ORR eligible populations.
Technical Assistance and Training

Technical Assistance and Training

As procedures and policies change, the RRD provides relevant information and education to refugee service providers and serves as a liaison between federal, state, providers and community stakeholders. Focus areas may include: Eligibility Determination, Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA), Refugee Support Services (RSS), data collection and governmental benefits: TANF, SSI, Medicaid, SNAP, and USCRI-administered Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) Technical assistance and training can be provided via email, phone, on-site visits, or formal scheduled trainings and demonstrations.
Community Engagement

Community Engagement

Quarterly Consultations hosted by service providers share information on trends, program challenges, new initiatives and allow discussion for information, updates and challenges at the national, state and local level.
Technical assistance for local community stakeholders related to eligible populations, programs and available resources and to share information related to public benefits, community impact, collaboration and coordination.
Monitoring of Programs

Monitoring of Programs

Program Monitoring is required to ensure program compliance with federal regulations, as defined in their contracts. This monitoring includes program performance and fiscal responsibility, and it may be done on-site or remotely.

Region 1


Debi Wheeler
Regional Coordinator
West Texas Office for Refugees
International Rescue Committee, Inc. 
(Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, Midland)

Region 2


Jeff Demers
Director of Refugee Services
North Texas Office for Refugees,
Catholic Charities Fort Worth
(Dallas, Fort Worth)

Region 3


Laila Amara
Regional Coordinator
Central Texas Office for Refugees,
Refugee Services of Texas, Inc. 
(Austin, San Antonio)

Region 4


Kimberly Haynes, MSW
South Texas Office for Refugees, 
YMCA of Greater Houston