Recently JF&CS welcomed Anne Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to Pittsburgh and to our office. This was Assistant Secretary Richard’s first visit to Pittsburgh, and we were honored JF&CS was one of the agencies selected to meet with her about our important work welcoming, transitioning and resettling refugees in Pittsburgh.
While in Pittsburgh, Assistant Secretary Richard met with JF&CS staff and refugee clients at our office and met with City and County Council members at Council Chambers to discuss refugee resettlement in Pittsburgh. During her visit, she also spoke with additional refugee service providers, agencies and members of the community.
The morning of her visit, Assistant Secretary Richard spoke at a press conference held by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, who serves the Carrick district, a community that has welcomed many of our refugees as they resettle to the Pittsburgh area. She also attended a City Council post-agenda meeting with invited speakers, JF&CS Refugee Services Director Leslie Aizenman and representatives from Pittsburgh Public Schools’ English as a Second Language (ESL) Program and Squirrel Hill Health Center, as well as local refugees to discuss Pittsburgh’s role in global refugee resettlement and to address questions from residents about the origin and culture of our new neighbors.
Make sure to take a look at the Essential Public Radio article about Assistant Secretary Richard’s visit and her praise for JF&CS and our local agencies working to meet refugees’ needs.
JF&CS’s refugee services staff work to resettle refugees granted access to America and Pittsburgh, providing for their basic needs and acculturation into our community and workforce, and also provide support to refugees coming to Pittsburgh who have been originally resettled in other U.S. cities. This year alone, JF&CS has welcomed and resettled more than 160 refugees to Pittsburgh, and expects to resettle 60 more before the year is through, and has helped an additional 200 individuals with employment assistance.
The support and involvement of our communities is critical to so much of the work of our refugee department. We could not accomplish what we do without the support of refugee service providers, volunteers, elected representatives and the communities where our refugee clients now live.