Imagine you speak limited English, but not enough to access public transportation, help your child at school or go to the doctor. Where do you turn? How do you get the help you need?
For many refugees and immigrants in our region, trying to utilize and access services without a firm grasp of the English language or cultural understanding can sometimes leave Pittsburgh’s newest arrivals lost in translation.
At Jewish Family & Children’s Service, we’re changing not only how refugees and immigrants are able to get connected to services, programs and benefits, but also how providers approach the unique needs of new populations and new people.
Through ISAC, a multi-agency partnership funded by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), six agencies provide culturally and linguistically appropriate service coordination and referrals to refugees and immigrants living in Allegheny County. JF&CS, the lead agency, partners with Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Latino Family Center, Casa San Jose, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Northern Area Multi Service Center, and South Hill Interfaith Ministries to improve and expand access to human and social services in our region for refugees and immigrants. ISAC also provides education and cultural competency training for healthcare organizations, schools, human service providers and others who work with refugee and immigrant populations.
In its first full year of operation, ISAC helped more than 1,650 Pittsburgh-area immigrants and refugees connect to necessary services and providers. ISAC staff made 1,430 referrals to more 140 different providers in the region, ensuring refugees and immigrants were directly connected to the services they needed to achieve and/or maintain self-sufficiency and fully acclimate to our region.
ISAC helps refugees and immigrants from countries all over the world, including Bhutan, Guatemala, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and more. Additionally, ISAC clients speak 43 different languages, including Nepali, Spanish, French, Arabic, Swahili and more, and ISAC staff help to coordinate translation and interpretation services for clients and providers.
ISAC is crucial to ensuring all refugees and legal immigrants in Pittsburgh are fully supported to establish new lives in our community, and that service providers are able to fully address their needs. To volunteer or to find more ways you can help support refugees and immigrants in our community, please contact Leslie Aizenman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-422-7200.