Annunciation House actually includes several 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. (As of summer 2019, Annunciation House is temporarily closed for renovations.)
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.
Casa del Refugiado, which was started in the spring of 2019, houses very short-term guests that have just been released from ICE custody. It is our largest facility, with a capacity of around 500 people. Guests here 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. This house is staffed by a combination of dedicated community volunteers, short-term volunteers, and full-time Annunciation House volunteers who live in a dedicated section of the facility.
Casa Oscar Romero was opened in early 2019. It houses both short- and long-term guests and is perhaps the most varied of all the houses, in terms of the guests it sees.
Casa Teresa houses the offices of Annunciation House. It also contains an apartment that volunteers can use as a retreat on their days off, or as a place to gather for recreation and community time.