PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh nonprofit Hello Neighbor has received federal approval to begin resettling refugees across Allegheny County.
For many refugees coming to the US, it’s often a lengthy and traumatic experience. The vetting process alone can take five to 20 years.
When they get here, there’s a lot that still needs to be figured out. That’s where Hello Neighbor comes in.
Sloan Davidson founded the non-profit in 2017 with the vision of helping immigrants and refugees settle into their new lives in the Steel City.
Now, four and a half years later, her organization has been awarded its first government contract.
“Once they come here, the role of a refugee resettlement agency is to get them set up as quickly as possible to rebuild their lives,” said Davidson.
Hello Neighbor’s work includes finding families a place in to live and covering rent for two to three months, enrolling kids in school, and helping adults find work.
“Many of the refugees, they’re starting off from scratch, which means housekeeping, and dish washing, and doing those entry level positions of which we have a lot that are open right now,” said Davidson.
Many of the services provided in the first 90 days will be covered by the federal government. But when those initial three months end, Hello Neighbor is just getting started.
“The best part, I think, for us, is that there is a continuation of services, it’s not just the first 90 days, and good luck, here you go. They can automatically enroll in some of our programs and really help with more of that building connections and building a community here at home,” explained Davidson.
The non-profit’s government partnership comes on the heels of President Biden’s announcement that the US will accept 125,000 refugees over the next 12 months.
In that time, Hello Neighbor expects to resettle 250 refugees and immigrants from countries including Rwanda, Bhutan, Myanmar, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Under their government contract, Hello Neighbor expects to begin resettling its first group of refugees in December or January.
Their increased workload means the organization needs community support now more than ever. To donate or volunteer, visit https://www.helloneighbor.io/ or contact Hello Neighbor at 412-567-3946 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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