Providing our refugee and immigrant neighbors with a warm welcome and network of support from day one.
Reception and Placement
Hello Neighbor is contracted under the Office of Refugee Resettlement as a partner of the national resettlement agency USCRI (U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants) and is the local nonprofit resettlement agency that welcomes newly arrived refugees. Hello Neighbor is 1 of 4 resettlement agencies that serve the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
In an average year, Hello Neighbor resettles approximately 100 individuals.
Duration of the program and services offered
We welcome our new neighbors on day 1 by picking them up from the airport. During the first 90 days we provide one-on-one case management to each family: facilitating medical and social services enrollments, providing bus and community orientation, finding work and helping to navigate the nuances of American life and culture.
We find, secure, and furnish housing prior to welcoming each new arrival. Housing must be safe, clean, pest free, affordable, and on a bus line. Public bus access is key because this is the only way that most of our new neighbors can get to work during the first year.
What does affordable housing look like for Hello Neighbor?
It is important to note that any rent above $1,000, regardless of size, becomes challenging for most of our new neighbors to afford. The going rate for entry level jobs in Pittsburgh, PA is about $13-$14 per hour. Many families rely on single family incomes. In the event that there are multiple working adults, Hello Neighbor can accommodate larger rent prices.
Hello Neighbor does not sign leases on behalf of our clients. We look for 6 month to 1 year leases and can generally ensure that 3 months rent are supported by our federal funding. We supply our families with the tools and resources needed to build a strong rental history.
Who does Hello Neighbor work with?
Hello Neighbor works with local property management companies and independently owned properties. We are willing to work with any company that meets the requirements and payment amounts listed above.
Are you a prospective landlord partner?
Contact our Housing Relationships Coordinator
Phone: (412) 567-3946
Hello Neighbor oversees two employment grants that support our newly arrived refugee families.
Refugee Social Services (RSS)
The Refugee Social Service Program is a state funded program that is parallel to the local welfare to work programming in Pittsburgh, known as EARN. Any work-aged adults resettled through the R&P program are eligible for this program. Families receive SNAP, Medical Assistance and Cash Assistance through this program.
In Pittsburgh specifically, there is a refugee unit that has access to interpretation and translation services and has staff trained in a culturally competent way to serve the unique needs of our new families. Eligible participants are required to attend ESL class through our literacy partner, Literacy Pittsburgh, and provide proof of job search, placement and up to 6 months retention before they complete the program.
Only work eligible adults are enrolled in this program. However, Hello Neighbor provides case management services in addition to employment services for the entire family for the duration of the employable adults time in the program.
Matching Grant (MG)
The Matching Grant (MG) program is a federally funded employment program aimed at supporting early self-sufficiency for our newly arrived families. In return for this funding, Hello Neighbor must provide their own matching funds. Unlike the RSS program, the MG program is not available to each new arrival. The entire family is enrolled in the case of MG. In addition to employment services, the family is offered case management support for the duration of the 8 month long program.
Like RSS, MG families are provided SNAP and Medical Assistance through the County Assistance Office. However, cash assistance and bus transportation are provided through Hello Neighbor. In addition to these supports, funding also provides additional months rent for our new neighbors.
Eligible families have to enroll within 31 days of arrival to the United States and therefore is generally only available to families resettled by Hello Neighbor.
Are you a prospective employer and/or employment and training partner, or are you seeking employment?
Please reach out to Kayleigh Del Cotto, Director of Refugee Resettlement to discuss your current and future job openings.
Phone: (412) 513-6610
What is a Welcome Circle?
When a community group accepts the responsibility to provide, or ensure the provision of, reception and placement services to an individual or family.
Hello Neighbor is excited to announce that we are in the process of completing training for our very first Co-Sponsorship Team! The Church of the Ascension team eagerly awaits the arrival of the family they will be matched with. Please follow us on our social media channels (list here?) to share in their journey
Why Welcome Circles?
Refugee Resettlement, like many social services programs, requires a dedicated team of people working together in support of others. At Hello Neighbor we work specifically to support the welcoming of our newest neighbors. The Hello Neighbor Team combines hard work and creativity to provide exceptional services in support of families meeting their goals, whether that be learning English, finding a first job, learning about the intricacies of systems in the United States and more.
Now, the Hello Neighbor Team is ready to share in this endeavor with the greater Pittsburgh community! Canada, our neighbors to the North, and a whole host of United States nonprofits have shown that greater community engagement leads to successful integration and of course programmatic outcomes outlined by the federal government.
Through Hello Neighbor’s Welcome Circles program we aspire to:
- Decrease the loneliness and isolation that comes with being a newcomer in the United States
- Leverage the education, experience and resources of teams to provide newly resettled families with wrap-around services, support, and lead to early self-sufficiency
- Fulfill the obligations required by the Cooperative Agreement between Hello Neighbor and USCRI
- Decrease dependence on Hello Neighbor as the sole support for newly arrived families
- Increase Hello Neighbor’s capacity to help additional families to the fullest extent
- Facilitate lifelong friendships
- Increase the level of knowledge and understanding surrounding the United States Refugee Resettlement process and create a more Welcoming Pittsburgh
Who can be a Welcome Circle?
- Faith Groups
- Book Clubs
- Activity Clubs
- Employer volunteer groups
- A group of 10-15 friends/colleagues
- Similar to Welcome Circles, IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) is a leading co‑sponsorship organization in the United States. Learn more by visiting their webpage.
- Learn more about similar programs from Canada, the birthplace of privatized refugee sponsorship, with this short video.
- Please take a look at our Welcome Circles FAQs for some common questions.
Hello Neighbor Supports Ukrainians
Hello Neighbor is able to help in the warm welcome of Ukrainians coming to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County who are looking to rebuild their lives.
Who are we able to help?
Hello Neighbor is able to provide service coordination to newly arrived Ukrainian families coming to the United States through the Uniting for Ukraine program. Eligible families are awarded temporary protective status (TPS) as Ukrainian Humanitarian Parolees. For more information on eligibility and becoming a Supporter please visit USCIS’ webpage.
How is supporting Ukrainians Different?
- Applicants must have a Supporter that completes an I-134 Declaration for Financial Support. You may hear or see the name “Sponsor” being used synonymously.
- The expectation with this program is that the Supporter will provide financial assistance, housing and other service provision to the families they are welcoming.
- Whereas the Hello Neighbor staff receives prior authorization and notification of R&P family arrival, Uniting for Ukraine families are not attached to an agency when they first arrive and it is therefore expected that their Supporters will help with these things
- Ukrainian families then connect with resettlement agencies for additional service coordination upon arrival.
- Funding varies by organization but the federal government has agreed to provide financial support for light service coordination (referrals to medical offices, ESL, employment support) in light of the fact that Supporters have agreed to provide the bulk of each family's immediate needs.
- Housing is not a major component of this program and is only available in the event that a Supporter is not able to fulfill their obligations.