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Refugee resettlement center opens near The Historic Pearl

Since last August, more than 3,000 refugees resettled in the Alamo City. This drove demand for Catholic Charities to expand their office space.

SAN ANTONIO — Driving up 281 North from downtown, you've likely seen the Wittigs sign.

The building off Avenue B is taking on new life. It now serves as the new Refugee Resettlement Services building for Catholic Charities of San Antonio.

As KENS 5 learned, there's now a greater demand for these services in San Antonio.

"We provide so many services to the community. Employment services, ESL classes, food, clothing, anything like that. Everything needs to be centralized in one place and this is where we're going to be doing it," said J. Antonio Fernandez, CEO of Catholic Charities of San Antonio.

Friday was move-in day, marking the end of a pilgrimage.

Inside the 8,000 square foot building at 2018 Avenue B, just blocks away from The Historic Pearl, 60 Catholic Charities employees will have a new place to service refugees.

"The reality is that immigrants who are coming to San Antonio, refugees who are legal in the country, have increased tremendously over the last two or three years," said Fernandez.

Since last August, more than 3,000 refugees resettled in the Alamo City. Most are from Afghanistan.

This drove demand for Catholic Charities to expand their office space so they can help more people.

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"People who helped the American Embassy in Kabul. People who helped American forces when they were there in Afghanistan," Fernandez explained. "We have people from Afghanistan, people from Congo, people from Ukraine and some Cubans who are crossing the border and have political asylum."

The new Refugee Resettlement Services building will help people who are referred to Catholic Charities by the federal government, Fernandez clarified.

Catholic Charities' Migrant Resource Center off San Pedro serves migrants who crossed the Southern Border. There, people are offered short-term help to travel to other cities.

"This is a place where we are going to be helping people for months because they want to stay in San Antonio," said Fernandez. "They have chosen to be in San Antonio as their home."

Credit: KENS
Bishop Michael Boulette walks the aisles of Catholic Charities' new Refugee Resettlement building.

Bishop Michael Boulette walked the aisles in the new center Friday afternoon, leaving a blessing with every step.

"There is more migration right now in this part of world history than any time since the second World War," said Boulette. "When we meet these folks on their journey, we encounter their entire person. We encounter their spirit, we encounter their hunger, we encounter their need for mental and physical health needs."

RELATED: Center for Refugee Services helps more than 3,000 Afghan families over past year

The workers spent time getting settled so they can help refugees find their new home. They hope the new center can serve as a beacon of hope, dignity and new life for the refugees they serve and the many more who walk through their doors.

"As Catholic Charities, some people think we only help Catholics. We help everybody, regardless of their faith, the color of their skin," said Fernandez. "We are blessed to do the work to help a stranger like Jesus was helped when he was a refugee."

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