Ongoing Projects


california, usa

The Crisis: There is mass homelessness crisis in California, due to unsustainable costs of living, the lack of affordable housing, and the insufficiency of supports for undocumented people within the state. In LA, there are nearly 60,000 homeless people. In the Alameda County (San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland), homelessness has increased by 43% over the past 5 years.To put the crisis into perspective, in 1906 there was an earthquake in San Francisco, which is regarded as one of the worst earthquakes of all time, which killed 3,000 people and rendered 400,000 people homeless. Over a three year period, more people will die on the streets of LA than those that died in that earthquake. However, very few supports and resources are being offered to address the homelessness crisis in LA and San Francisco. There is an immigration crisis within the state as well, due to the lack of supports for undocumented people living in California. Their situation is made more difficult due to the language barrier, as the majority of undocumented people in California speak Spanish, and services in America, such as education, health care, employment, etc., are offered only in English. There has also been a significant spike in xenophobia and racism against Latinx communities within this state, which has further intensified the hardships faced by immigrants to California.

Urban Refuge is currently launching in San Jose and the surrounding areas of California with the help of the International Rescue Committee in San Jose. A new partnership with professors and researchers at UC Berkeley encourages an upcoming expansion to San Francisco and the larger Bay Area ahead of our launch on the ground in October.

istanbul, turkey

The Crisis: Due to conflict and displacement in Syria, there has been a mass influx of refugees in Istanbul and the surrounding regions. Recent political turmoil in Turkey has led to a crackdown on immigration to the country, resulting in the forced expulsion of thousands of Syrian refugees. Furthermore, there are little to no supports for refugees in this country, which is exacerbated by the lack of employment opportunities, rampant xenophobia and racism within the country, and a language barrier.

Our Istanbul project is led by Ada Mesci. Ada is currently compiling a database of aid organizations based in Istanbul, particularly around the Sultanbeyli municipality. The goal is to create an extensive resource database for one of the most refugee-dense areas of Istanbul, allowing us to add these resources to the app and launch our app in Istanbul in the future.

istanbul blue mosque.jpg



The Crisis: Due to the Syrian Civil War, millions of Syrians have fled their home country and resettled in Lebanon, due to geographic proximity, similar culture, same language, and similar religious practices. However, Lebanon is currently in a state of political and financial instability, exacerbated by regional politics. Lebanon, an already financially unstable country, has taken in more Syrian refugees (relative to population) than any other country, which has led to a soar in homelessness, lack of job prospects, and xenophobia.

Our Beirut Project is led by Yasmine Atallah. Yasmine is currently in the process of researching and contacting potential organizations and partners around Lebanon for Urban Refuge to collaborate with, in order to produce an aid resource database. With 30 NGOs currently charted and hopes to have 60 charted by the beginning of November, Urban Refuge is well on its way to expanding in Beirut under Yasmine’s leadership.