Ukrainian Support Program: "It has been a year."

Philadelphia Museum of Art with Ukraine's flag displayed May 9 2022

"We hope we can continue to support and together, help Ukrainians overcome the hardships and consequences of this awful war."

It has been one year since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced, forced to leave Ukraine, and move to different countries. On April 21, 2022, President Biden announced "Uniting for Ukraine"(U4U), a program that provides a pathway for Ukrainians to seek refuge in the United States and stay temporarily in a two-year period of parole. This program marked a key step toward fulfilling the president’s commitment to welcome Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion.

With the Philadelphia-region already being home to many Ukrainians, NSC knew that its response to support those arriving needed to be quick and coordinated. NSC began coordinating efforts alongside other local organizations and assisting in efforts to ensure those needing assistance could get it.

In September 2022, NSC began additional collaboration with Philadelphia’s other resettlement agencies, Bethany Christian Services, Catholic Social Services, and HIAS PA, to coordinate services throughout the Philadelphia region, with NSC overseeing the Newcomer Hotline (215-608-1966). Newcomer Ukrainians can call to get connected to case management supports or receive vital information on systems. Since the hotline has been running, it has received over 350 calls from newcomers looking for assistance.

NSC’s Ukrainian Support Program (USP), funded through the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), was established in September 2022 and began enrolling clients in October. Since then, we have enrolled almost 400 individuals, 180 households.

Each client is eligible for 90 days of case management support. Case managers help clients get connected to benefit systems, including SNAP, health insurance, and employment authorization. They also connect our clients to school enrollment, healthcare navigation, and referrals to other support programs at NSC and in the community.  

The program offers a series of workshops with topics including, health access and navigation, school systems and education, know your rights, financial literacy, and stress and reality. USP has hosted over 20 workshops in just a few months. The program also understands that many of our clients left their homes with very few resources, and many familial ties they have here in the region are struggling as well. By providing light rental assistance, we have been able to ensure clients’ basic needs are met and they have a safe home to rest in.

USP coordinates alongside other NSC programs to ensure the most vulnerable clients and those seeking additional assistance can receive it after the 90-day period. The Innovative Support Program for Immigrant and Refugee Empowerment (INSPIRE) has enrolled 21 USP clients, to support their ongoing medical and disability needs through extensive medical case management and occupational therapy supports. NSC’s Employment programs have helped over 60 clients find their first jobs here in the United States.

Each week, more and more Ukrainians are arriving to the Philadelphia-region and the calls to the Newcomer Hotline continue to come in. Since the U4U program has begun, almost 8,000 Ukrainians have made the Philadelphia- region their new home. Every week, the USP team enrolls 6-8 new families into case management supports, and every week we see the relief on their faces, realizing that they are not alone here, and now have a support and plan for a while. We hope we can continue to support and together, help Ukrainians overcome the hardships and consequences of this awful war.