Immigrants and Refugees are Finding Their Way in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is your home. You know your bridges and your bus routes, how to get to your doctor or grocery store, renew your driver’s license, and probably find a plumber. In an emergency, you can dial 911 and know that help will come.

For many refugees and immigrants in our region, however, basic things like these have to be learned, often with very limited language skills. Struggling with public transportation, communication, new cultural expectations and finding critical services are daily challenges for those who have recently arrived in our region from other countries.

At Jewish Family & Children’s Service, we’ve resettled refugees and immigrants for 80 years…and we know how they feel. So every day we try to make things a little better. One way is through a multi-agency partnership called ISAC* (Immigrant Services and Connections), funded by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS), that serves immigrant and refugee populations. ISAC is a collaborative, centralized approach to helping refugees and immigrants locate and access services, including medical care, legal assistance, education programs, occupational training, and more. As the lead agency in this collaboration, JF&CS ensures that foreign born individuals throughout the Pittsburgh region get the support they need to successfully integrate into our community. A new ISAC website has been initiated and will provide a central online location for professionals who work with the foreign born. Many of the materials will be available in several languages.

At JF&CS, we know how much refugee and immigrant families contribute to the quality of life in our community, as long as they have the tools and support to achieve success. *******************************************

If you are interested in learning more about refugees, where they come from, what resettlement involves, how Pennsylvanians feel about accepting more refugees, and how JF&CS works in the refugee community, please visit the following links:

Can you imagine leaving your country because of war and violence, and trying to make your way to somewhere safe? (Video: 2 minutes)

WQED’s recent Pittsburgh 360 segment on refugees explains how JF&CS works to help refugees and immigrants succeed in their new country. (Video: 28 minutes)

A new poll released by the Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs shows that a majority of Pennsylvanians support accepting more Syrian refugees into the country.

The poll mentioned above shows that Americans are concerned about how refugees accepted for resettlement are screened. Take a look at the lengthy and thorough steps all refugees go through before they can enter the U.S.

*JF&CS is grateful to be working with these ISAC partners: Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Latino Family Center, Casa San Jose, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Northern Area Multi Service Center, and South Hill Interfaith Movement.
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