Casa Marianella


Casa Marianella creates community with Spanish-speaking immigrants and international refugees by providing hospitality and promoting self-sufficiency.

Our History

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.

Who We Serve

Casa Marianella provides shelter, mind food and full supportive services to homeless immigrants. Two clusters of shelters in renovated houses in residential neighborhoods in East Austin serve women and children escaping violence and adult immigrants. Our shelters are home-like facilities designed to meet emergency or transitional needs so vulnerable and injured people can resolve their immediate crisis, get stabilized and once again become independent, which then opens up space for new residents. In 29 years, our population has evolved from survivors of the Salvadoran war to asylum seeking refugees and other immigrants from over 40 countries.

Casa Marianella has the only homeless shelters in Austin dedicated solely to immigrants. 65% of our shelter residents, including children, are asylum seekers, many coming to us from immigration detention.

Our Programs:

  • Posada Esperanza: Full service transitional housing program for immigrant mothers and children escaping domestic/cultural violence
  • Emergency Shelter: For female and male adults
  • Transitional Asylee Apartments: For male asylees
  • Community Education Center: English classes, women’s work and empowerment, life skills
  • Immigration Legal Services: Focus on Asylum, U-Visas (victims of crimes), T-Visas (survivors of trafficking), VAWA status (under Violence Against Women Act), Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (abandoned, abused and neglected children up to age 20)
  • Benefits Clinic: pilot program for shelter residents and members of the immigrant community at-large.


All immigrants arriving in Austin will have safe housing and access to the services they need to be successful.


Casa Marianella believes in providing personal attention, treating clients with kindness and respect, and using a strength-based approach to case management. Casa also utilizes a collaborative leadership style and a decentralized organization structure. Casa relies on the enthusiasm and generosity of full-time volunteers as a core attribute of the organization.

Together, we can change the world. One person, one message, one brick at a time.