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How JFCS is Helping Ukrainians

JFCS is helping Ukrainians connect to essential services they need when they arrive in Pittsburgh. 

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, JFCS has helped hundreds of Ukrainians who came to Pittsburgh to flee to safety. With the launch of Uniting for Ukraine, the resettlement services for Ukrainians will continue to grow over the coming months and years ahead.

Uniting for Ukraine provides a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members who are outside the United States to come to the United States and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole. Ukrainians participating in Uniting for Ukraine must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to provide them with financial support for the duration of their stay in the United States.

When individuals arrive from Ukraine, they should expect to receive support and resources from JFCS and our partners to assist with an easy transition to life in Pittsburgh.

Service Coordination

When Ukrainians first arrive in Pittsburgh, they need to connect to a number of essential services like legal services, employment, medical care, school, and more. Navigating a new country’s system in a second (or third) language is difficult, especially for those that have experienced trauma. 

The Immigrant Services and Connections (ISAC) program is a five-agency partnership led by JFCS that helps immigrants in Allegheny County connect to service providers and navigate cultural and language barriers. Through ISAC, Ukrainians arriving in Pittsburgh were able to receive help navigating the complex US system of social services to connect to providers for legal services, referrals to access employment services, benefits, food assistance, and more. Going forward, Ukrainians  will be able to receive case management through the Preferred Communities Program. ISAC will make referrals within JFCS or to other immigrant services organizations as needed to assure all Ukrainians in the region receive case management support.  

Case Management Support through JFCS Refugee Social Integration Team 

As Ukrainians continue to come through the Uniting for Ukraine program, many families find that their needs are much greater than expected. While sponsor families are there to support them through the process of building their lives here in the US, immigrant service providers will now be able to provide additional support to Ukrainians and their sponsors through more intensive assistance. 

Through the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement, JFCS will receive additional funding through the Preferred Communities Program to provide for case management of Ukrainians coming to Pittsburgh for a three-month period. Caseworkers supporting Ukrainians will work closely with the US sponsors to ensure that the needs of the Ukrainian immigrants are being met, including access to benefits, medical services, employment, food, and more. Through this supplemental program, Ukrainians new to the US will also be able to receive help connecting to legal services, ESL, medical appointments, school enrollment, and transportation and extended cultural orientation.

To refer an individual or family to case management from the Uniting for Ukraine program, please contact JFCS at 412-742-4213 or refugee@jfcspgh.org. 

Legal Services

As Ukrainian families and individuals arrive, one their biggest and most challenging needs is immigration legal help. In order to work in the US, Ukrainians coming through the Uniting for Ukraine program must apply for employment authorization, which can be a lengthy and frustrating process. Likewise, the process for US sponsors to apply to bring Ukrainians is unfamiliar to many Americans and contains many responsibilities for the sponsoring family or individual to understand and comply with. 

JFCS Immigration Legal Services has been working on many fronts to help with both the sponsorship of Ukrainians to the US and the legal needs of Ukrainians once they arrive in Pittsburgh. Through community presentations, our legal team has been helping US residents understand how they can participate in the Uniting for Ukraine program to support Ukrainians who want to come to the US and understand their responsibilities as sponsors. 

Once Ukrainians come to the US, our legal services team is helping them apply for the proper immigration forms and navigate the legal system. They have also been helping to answer questions about rights and restrictions for their specific immigration status, since special provisions have been made through the Uniting for Ukraine program. Since Ukrainians arrive with humanitarian parole status, they only have temporary status and must get assistance to determine if there is a legal way to apply for permanent residence. Soon, JFCS will have a full-time attorney dedicated to helping Ukrainians through the process of their immigration legal paperwork and processes. 

Looking Forward

JFCS is committed to supporting the immigrant community and ensuring successful integration and resettlement in our region. We will provide long-term support as needed to Ukrainians coming to Pittsburgh through these various services. 

As US guidelines for Ukrainians and resettlement agencies continue to change and evolve, JFCS will continue to meet the needs of newly arrived Ukrainian immigrants in Pittsburgh. If you have questions about sponsorship or services available to Ukrainians coming to Pittsburgh, please contact us.