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H.O.M.E.

Humanitarian Outreach for Migrant Emotional Health

Asylum seekers are in flight for their lives, but explaining this in court is tough. H.O.M.E. clinicians document a migrant’s journey and its emotional impact. We testify to emotional health and how immigration status can be part of the solution.

Service in the border regions

Asylum seekers who arrive at the US southern border are in flight for their lives.  Mothers and children flee brutal cartels.  Adults and teens flee rogue governments, political torture, and imprisonment for their faith or politics.  Women flee violent partners in places where police will not protect them.  

These survivors are forced to await US entry from shelters and tent camps, where they are subject to kidnapping, rape, and brutal violence from cartel members who prey on their vulnerability.  

This is where H.O.M.E. steps in.  When a H.O.M.E. clinician documents the symptoms and needs of an asylum seeker in a dangerous setting, Border officials can grant emergency entry for health and safety.  H.O.M.E. completes several emergency assessments each week, and with this help, many vulnerable clients attain safety.

Service inside the US

No one can heal from severe psychological wounds while they remain in danger, but emergency entry is only temporary.  For long-term protection, asylum seekers must show evidence of the dangers they face.  Physical scars and injuries may be easy to see, but emotional scars are less visible.  H.O.M.E. steps in to assess emotional injuries through clinical diagnosis based on trauma research. 

Our work promotes humane processes through existing legal channels.  By assessing a migrant's mental health, H.O.M.E. clinicians bear witness to emotional harm and give voice to the person whose trauma feels unspeakable.  

Nonprofit and pro bono immigration attorneys request assessment through a secure online referral form, and H.O.M.E. provides a mental health evaluator who is matched for clinical expertise, state of licensure, and availability for the requested turnaround time.  Many H.O.M.E. clinicians are native Spanish speakers, and all have expertise relevant to the migration experience.  

H.O.M.E. offers expert clinical supervision and affidavit review from professionals with substantial experience in immigration mental health interviews and report writing.  H.O.M.E. also provides:

  • Case consultation for both attorneys and mental health professionals
  • Language interpretation
  • Academic resources to strengthen documentation
  • HIPAA compliant processes

The process is designed to evaluate mental health needs, strengthen the survivor's voice, ease the attorney's burden, and provide high quality clinical documentation to migrants who not otherwise have access. 

Our Funders

H.O.M.E. is grateful to the funders who support our work. We could not accomplish this task without your help. 

Texas Women's Foundation

Harold Simmons Foundation

Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

And our many, generous individual donors. 

H.O.M.E. Leadership

H.O.M.E. is a team of professionals who see clear connections between mental health and social justice.  We provide mental health assessment for immigrants in need by documenting their trauma histories, emotional and cognitive impact, fear of return, and other mental health factors important to their legal petitions. 

We are grateful for everyone who participates through their hard work and through their financial support.  Most of all, we are profoundly grateful for the migrants who trust us to document their experiences and who teach us through their vulnerability, resilience, and leadership.

H.O.M.E. is a 501(c)(3) public charity --  EIN 85-3614204. 

Meet the H.O.M.E. Leadership Team

Executive Director, Jenifer Wolf-Williams, Ed.D., LPC-S, LPA

As H.O.M.E. executive director and part of its founding team, Jenifer provides clinical and organizational leadership.  She previously served asylum seekers through her private practice, where she discovered the need for clear assessment.  Her early practice included three years in Honduras, Central America, while surrounding nations were at war. In addition to her clinical credentials, Jenifer holds the Ed.D. in organizational leadership, and her non-clinical experience includes two years as a US Senate Staffer, where she was assigned to immigration.  Her 2020 publication Perspectives on Asylum Policy: Going to the Borderlands and Coming to Terms with US History, Social Sentiment, and Hope offers her personal narrative and describes the social implications of asylum policy.  

Board of Directors

Board President, Molly Martinez, Ph.D.

Molly is a clinical psychologist who co-led an earlier project for asylum seekers, the mental health component of "Dallas Responds."  That project served families who were newly released from ICE detention, and Molly's oversight kept the work clinically sound and clearly defined.  She has experience in mental health assessments for immigration cases, as well as a passion for connecting mental health and social justice. 

Board Secretary, Paul Zoltan, J.D.

Paul is an immigration attorney with a lifelong track record of advocacy for humanitarian immigration applicants.  As the son of a Hungarian refugee, he devoted his career to welcoming those who continue to arrive.  Paul has a long list of awards and community services, and I'm grateful this work will now be among them.

Board Treasurer, Ana M. Gómez de Torres, Ed.D.

Dr. Gómez de Torres immigrated from Mexico. She focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, teaching, learning, and social justice. She loves giving back to her community by supporting DACA and Dreamer students and the least represented. She is a full-time professor at a California community college and adjunct faculty at a private university.  Dr. Gómez de Torres has experience in nonprofit Board leadership, including as Treasurer.  Early in her career, she worked as a paraeducator in the K-12 educational system and taught preschool. She is honored and grateful with the opportunity her profession/vocation offers her, to serve and impact the lives of students and community members so that they may thrive in life. 

Director, Marcella Smith, PhD, MSW

Marcella is an Assistant Professor and Interim Department Head for the School of Social Work at Texas A&M University-Commerce. She has worked with numerous immigrants in her role as an educator. She has also conducted research and presentations on immigration issues at state and national conferences. As an immigrant herself, she has a strong passion for advocating and working with this vulnerable population.

Cofounder and Director, David Gangsei, Ph.D., San Diego, CA

David is a cofounder of the original pilot project, having partnered with Jerry Gray from its inception.  As the former international clinical advisor for the Center for Victims of Torture and the former clinical director for Survivors of Torture International, David has extensive experience in the assessment and documentation of human rights abuses.  An avid "connector", David brings extensive knowledge regarding collaborators engaged in similar efforts around the globe. 

Director, Nicholas Rizza, Berkley, CA

Nick has extensive experience in humanitarian work among survivors of human rights abuses.  His professional background includes 20 years with Amnesty International USA, where he evaluated, documented, and wrote opinion letters on political asylum claims.  He also investigated and reported on conditions for asylum seekers in jails and detention centers.  He spent several years of his career in Latin America.  He is a longtime friend of Jerry Gray. 

Director, Linda Cantu, Dallas, TX

Linda has a passion for fundraising with the ability to start a campaign and see it through to a successful finish. Linda brings 10 years of experience serving as a volunteer and current Board Member of the non-profit, Cara Mia Theatre. She started the organization's first Gala six years ago and has Chaired the event twice, which has been instrumental in funding the non-profit’s summer programming. Currently, Linda works as a Sales Manager for Specialty Paint Place. She brings her heritage as a Latina to her non-profit roles, promoting diversity and inclusiveness.

Advisory Board 

Judy Iwens Eidelson, Ph.D.

Judy is a clinical psychologist who has been conducting psychological evaluations of immigrant survivors of human rights abuses and providing expert testimony since 2002. She is the founder of the Philadelphia Immigration Evaluators Resource Network, a community of practice for clinicians providing pro bono asylum evaluations. Judy also supervises graduate students and conducts trainings on trauma, credibility, vicarious trauma, and interviewing skills for attorneys and mental health professionals.

Bill Holston, J.D., Dallas, TX

Executive director of the Humans Rights Initiative of Dallas, Bill has a lifelong passion for social justice, a strong track record for immigrant advocacy, and extensive knowledge of immigration law.  He has received a number of social justice awards for his work, including the Dallas Bar Association's Martin Luther King Jr. Justice Award.  He is also a master naturalist who shares his love of the out of doors with the community. 

Selma Yznaga, Ph.D., Brownsville, TX

Selma is an associate professor and administrator in the Department of Counseling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  As an experienced clinician and educator, Selma brings her expertise directly into immigrant communities, and she equips new counselors to serve those communities as well.  Selma brings a mental health perspective to social justice advocacy and is the founder of the Texas Counselors for Social Justice, which addresses the oppression of ethnic and social minorities.  

In Grateful Memory

Cofounder Gerald Gray, LCSW, MPH

Gerald (Jerry) Gray, passed from this life while HOME was in formation.  Jerry co-founded the original pilot project, became its sole financial donor, initiated our shift from project to nonprofit, and inspired us all.  Without Jerry, this work would not have been possible.   

Jerry was a member of the Stanford Human Rights in Trauma Laboratory and the former executive director of Survivors International of San Francisco, as well as the Center for Survivors of Torture, San Jose.  In his recent memoir, Turning the Wound, Jerry shared his journey through narrative, poetry, and paintings.  We are grateful Jerry continued to envision a kinder world even through his final days.  This was his enduring gift.

  
Jerry's wife Coleen Higa remains an invaluable supporter and encouragement.  We at HOME are grateful and will do our best to grow this work toward Jerry's vision for it. 

 

What Matters to Us

Our purpose is to provide mental health assessment for immigrants in need by documenting their trauma histories, emotional and cognitive impact, fear of return, and other mental health factors important to their legal petitions. We also document the broader emotional impact of immigration policy and practice, and we offer public education regarding humanitarian migration.

Our vision includes expansion of services along the US southern border, appropriate trauma care for immigrant communities, and expanded education for host communities and policymakers regarding migration and mental health. 

Our values statement: All people deserve life, purpose, dignity, safety, opportunity, and connections with those they love.  We work toward these ideals through an attitude of learning, a structure of collaboration, and a spirit of courage.