The Poorest of the Poor
From its beginnings, Annunciation House has sought to serve the poorest of the poor in our El Paso-Juarez border community. Over the years, we’ve come to understand that many of the most vulnerable are people from south of the border, who can’t receive services from most established social agencies. They can be identified by their undocumented immigration status and the poverty, injustice, and oppression that are so much a part of their reality. These migrants and refugees have become the primary constituency of Annunciation House.
Three Houses, Many Stories
Annunciation House actually includes three houses, each of which has a different focus, although these distinctions are fluid and change with the needs of our guests:
Annunciation House itself is the entry point for most of our guests. It hosts guests with short-to mid-term needs, who stay for weeks to months. These range from people who have come to the US seeking work, to those who have fled violence and extortion in their home countries, to undocumented families living in El Paso, who have come upon financial hardship.
Casa Vides is a longer-term house of hospitality for guests with ongoing needs, such as political asylum cases or other immigration proceedings, or medical situations. Casa Vides also provides hospitality to a number of Mexican nationals, widows of U.S. citizens, who must spend a certain amount of time in the U.S. each year to collect the Social Security benefits to which they are entitled.
Nazareth House, which was started in 2014, houses very short-term guests that have just been released from ICE custody. Nazareth guests typically stay just 1-3 days, long enough to address their basic needs and connect with family or friends elsewhere in the U.S. This house has high turnover and unpredictable numbers, with the guest population entirely dependent on ICE’s release schedule each week. Volunteers do not live full-time at Nazareth; instead, this house is staffed by a combination of dedicated community volunteers, and full-time volunteers living at Vides and Annunciation House.