What is Resettlement?

Your guide to resettlement and what it means to welcome refugees and immigrants from day one.

November 4, 2021

In a recent announcement we shared that Hello Neighbor is now a federally approved refugee resettlement partner and will be resettling 250 refugees and immigrants across our region over the coming year.

But what does that look like?

There is a lot that goes into welcoming our newest neighbors and helping them establish their lives in a new home. Since our announcement, we’ve seen a lot of questions come up such as…

  • What is resettlement?
  • Who is coming here?
  • How can I help?

We know how difficult it can be to understand the U.S. immigration system. Today we are going to demystify resettlement and answer some common questions about welcoming refugees and immigrants from day one.

First, some background and context.

The Refugee Crisis

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2020 alone there were 82.4 million forcibly displaced people in the world. That is more than twice the number of people who were forcibly displaced a decade ago.

With the ongoing pandemic, the current crisis in Afghanistan, and others, the number of international migrants has been on the rise.

What Is Resettlement?

Resettlement is the act of guiding and assisting refugees who have been forced to leave their homes due to war, persecution and violence as they seek protection and work to rebuild their lives in a new country.

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program is a complex web of agencies, organizations, volunteers, and others. The U.S. process for refugee vetting is one of the strictest in the world: it takes a minimum of 24 months for refugees to gain federal approval, but in reality can take much longer. It isn’t uncommon to hear about a refugee spending five years going through the resettlement process after spending between five and 20 years as an internally displaced person or refugee in a camp or city.

Once they are approved to resettle, these refugees arrive in the U.S. with no funds, no network of support, and lacking the language and cultural knowledge to successfully navigate a new place.

That’s where Hello Neighbor steps in.

As a resettlement partner, it is our job to help these individuals get to a place of self-sufficiency.

Our work begins the moment a refugee first steps off the plane, welcoming them to our city, providing furnished housing, access to basic food and necessities like a social security number, cell phone and bus pass, employment services and school enrollment support, access to health services, cultural orientation, English language classes, and more.

The Nationalities Service Center highlights the first 90 days for a refugee once they arrive in the United States in the helpful graphic below.


Who Is Coming Here?

While we cannot know the exact number of refugees and immigrants who will be coming to our region and their countries of origin, over the next 12 months, Hello Neighbor hopes to resettle:

  • 100 refugees: Countries of origin will likely include Bhutan, Myanmar, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo amongst other countries
  • 50 SIVs: These Special Immigrant Visa holders are all Afghans, a population and culture Hello Neighbor has welcomed and supported since their founding in 2017
  • 100 Afghan Humanitarian Parolees: Many of which are currently located on army bases across the country or trying to be extracted from Afghanistan.

How Can I Help?

There are so many ways to support both our newly arriving refugee and immigrant neighbors and those who are already here, still working to rebuild their lives from the ground up.


One of the biggest ways you can make an impact is to partner with us financially. By donating to our resettlement program you are helping to provide newly arriving refugee and immigrant families with the resources and support they need to begin again.


In the coming months we will be assembling Community Sponsorship teams, consisting of volunteers and community members dedicated to assisting newcomers from the moment they arrive in Pittsburgh. If you are interested in this opportunity you can email us, or explore other current opportunities to volunteer and support refugees and immigrants below.

Get Involved


Over the coming weeks we will be sharing updates, educational resources and opportunities to support the resettlement of our newest neighbors. Sign up for our newsletter below to receive the latest announcements or follow us on our social channels.

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