In 1975, the end of the war in Vietnam initiated a mass exodus of millions of refugees from the Southeast Asian countries from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. By 1985, nearly one million refugees resettled to the United States. From 1975 to 1983, over 3,500 Laotian refugees were resettled in Chicago, primarily in the Albany Park and Uptown neighborhoods. Others settled in the suburbs of Aurora, Elgin, Joliet, and Rockford.
In 1984, in response to the needs of the community, the Lao American Community Services was established as a mutual assistance association to provide social services to refugees in their plight to rebuild their lives.