Refugees

Who do we help?

Refugees have been selected by the UN High Commission on Refugees to be resettled in a third country because they can neither return to their home country nor live in safety in neighboring host countries. Of over 25 million refugees in the world, only 1 in 500, those who are most vulnerable, meet the UN criteria for resettlement: individuals with medical needs, women and girls at risk, children at risk, and survivors of violence and torture. The US also resettles Iraqi and Afghani refugees who are being persecuted due to their work with the US government on Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs).

The US President decides the number of refugees and SIVs allowed into the country. Once the UNHCR refers a refugee to be considered for resettlement, the US Government does six background checks before being approved for admission.  These highly vetted families and individuals then come to HIAS Pennsylvania for support services when they are assigned to Philadelphia for resettlement.

Why do we help?

Refugee resettlement goes to the heart of our history and mission. Founded to help Jews escaping persecution resettle in America, HIAS Pennsylvania now helps refugees of any background and faith who have fled their homes to stay alive.  Many have lived in camps for years. Some have survived trauma hard for American citizens to imagine. They arrive with nothing but their lives into a completely foreign culture.

In addition to humanitarian reasons, we welcome refugees for the benefit of American society.  In their diversity, they strengthen our economy, our culture, and our communities.

How do we help?

HIAS Pennsylvania helps refugees get started in the U.S. by:

  • finding them a safe and secure place to live and furnishing it with donated household goods and furniture.
  • greeting them at the airport and bringing them to their new home.
  • making sure they have a hot, home-cooked meal when they first arrive home.
  • helping them get Social Security cards and access public benefits.
  • ensuring they receive a thorough medical screening from one of the partner refugee health clinics at PENN Center for Primary Care for adults or Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
  • orienting them to the community and providing financial literacy lessons.

Are you a recently arrived refugee in need of resettlement help?

If you are a recently arrived refugee or SIV who moved from another city or state to Philadelphia, we can help. Call us at 215-832-0900.

    Unleash generosity this Giving Tuesday!

    This Giving Tuesday, you can change an immigrant's life!


    This Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to be part of a worldwide effort to give back to those in need in our community and help immigrants and refugees begin new lives here in Pennsylvania!

    Join us ONLINE at 12:45PM TODAY at the Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) Volunteer Appreciation Awards!

    Thanking our volunteers, who, in times of crisis and calm, constantly step up to “repair the world” by supporting immigrants and refugees.

    Join us at the Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) Volunteer Appreciation Awards!

    The in-person Tikkun Olam Awards are sold out!

    Join us online TOMORROW, Wednesday, October 19th, at 12:45PM at the virtual Tikkun Olam Awards!


    Thanking our volunteers, who, in times of crisis and calm, constantly step up to “repair the world” by supporting immigrants and refugees.

    TONIGHT: Join us at the table!Join us for Thankful Together!

    Thankful Together, formerly known as Refugee Thanksgiving, is happening TONIGHT at 6PM!

    Register here to join us tonight: https://hiaspa1.wpengine.com/event/thankful-together-2021/

    Celebrate our volunteers who make this all possible!Click here at 11:45AM to join our Annual Meeting!

    Click here to join our virtual Annual Meeting!

    The Annual Meeting starts at noon, but join us at 11:45AM for an informal chat before the event!

    POSTPONED! Speed Advocacy: Afghanistan

    Today's Speed Advocacy: Afghanistan Facebook Live event has been postponed due to a worldwide Facebook outage. We will update you as soon as possible about rescheduling the event.

    Join us for Thankful TogetherWatch performances from cultural groups and immigrants from around Philadelphia.
    Give immigrants a brighter future

    Make 2021 better for immigrants and refugees by ensuring they have the support to recover from anti-immigrant policies and the pandemic.

    Double your donation this Giving Tuesday!All gifts will be matched up to a total of $11,000

    Help every immigrant achieve their greatest potential by ensuring there are no obstacles like a lack of legal status or language access stand in their way.