City Hall, NY – Today, Speaker Adrienne Adams was joined by her New York City Council colleagues, and several philanthropic foundations to announce a new public-private partnership to support the organizations assisting asylum seekers and communities in New York City. The $2.2 million dollar initiative, “Welcome NYC,” will fund organizations providing urgent legal services, workforce development, literacy programs, youth services, faith-based services, and food assistance across the City.
“Our immigrant communities are an essential part of the fabric of our city, and critical to who we are and our success,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “From the very beginning, our local non-profits and community-based organizations have stepped up to fill the gaps and shouldered the heroic work of supporting newly arriving people and families. Welcome NYC will help organizations on the ground providing support to asylum seekers, and our communities more broadly, with crucial services. As we continue to advocate for increased federal and state support, the Council will pursue comprehensive solutions to help migrants and all residents access health, opportunity, and safety. I thank our philanthropic partners and the entire Council for their hard work and partnership to launch this new initiative.”
Several major philanthropic foundations are collectively contributing $1 million towards the “Welcome NYC” initiative, including the Robin Hood Foundation, New York Community Trust, Bronx Community Foundation, New York Women’s Foundation, and Brooklyn Community Foundation. The Council is allocating $1.2 million in Council funding to more than two dozen non-profit organizations providing crucial services on the ground to families, people seeking asylum in New York City, and local communities. On Thursday, the Council will vote on a transparency resolution designating this funding to specific organizations.
The Council’s $1.2 million allocation will fund the following groups:
“Ensuring that asylum seekers have every resource necessary available to them to as they settle into their new lives in New York City is essential to making our city an inclusive place of opportunity for all New Yorkers,” said Chymeka Olfonse, the managing director of Robin Hood’s Adults and House Supports grantmaking portfolio. “We are proud to partner with the New York Community Trust. and the nonprofit community to expand and strengthen legal services for asylum seekers in New York City. We commend the New York City Council for its commitment to funding workforce development programs, literacy services, mentoring programs, college awareness, youth leadership, social and educational programs, food services, and other programs that will empower migrant families to thrive in their new home city.”
“Immigrants make our city stronger, yet their ability to become citizens is endangered because they have no right to counsel and often struggle to find trustworthy advice,” said Eve Stotland, Senior Program Officer at New York Community Trust. “That is why The New York Community Trust is proud to join the Robin Hood Foundation and make a combined grant of $750,000 to UnLocal and invest in the City Council’s Welcome NYC initiative to help immigrant New Yorkers successfully navigate today’s complex immigration system. And we thank City Council for its long-term commitment to free legal services for immigrants across the city.”
“We congratulate Speaker Adams and City Council for their continued leadership in responding to the needs of all in NYC!” said Ana L. Oliveira, President & CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation. “With the recent influx of migrants and asylum seekers in NYC, our local, community-based organizations have stepped up to provide culturally and linguistically competent direct support for the most vulnerable, including women and families, LGBTQ+ individuals, survivors of violence, and young people. It is only fitting that philanthropy do the same! We are proud to follow the leadership of our Speaker and City Council. The New York Women’s Foundation is grateful and proud to support those on the frontlines who are rapidly responding to this crisis and commits to add additional and focused funding to our partners in our communities, with our shared determination of a city that works for all.”
“The Bronx Community Foundation is proud to join Speaker Adams and the City Council to make sure the newest New Yorkers feel welcome and supported in our city,” said Dr. Meisha Porter, President and CEO of The Bronx Community Foundation. “The Foundation has supported organizations providing access to critical resources, like healthy food, clothing, phones, and transportation, to new arrivals. But it is clear that we must do more. By harnessing the power of government and philanthropy, Welcome NYC will help us meet the needs of all asylum seekers arriving in New York City.”
“As our city continues to welcome a new wave of New Yorkers, we want them all to feel supported and part of the fabric of our communities,” said Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President and CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation. “That belonging is made possible through the work of grassroots nonprofit organizations, many of which we support through our Immigrant Rights Fund. Our partnership with the City Council on Welcome NYC will help drive critical additional funding across our city, and especially Brooklyn, to bolster nonprofit lifelines and help them deliver essential services to those navigating uncharted roads.”
Local non-profits and community-based organizations have shouldered the work of supporting new arrivals – from distributing warm, weather-appropriate clothing, food, and basic supplies, to coordinating transportation. Over the past year, Council Members and Council staff have met with organizations and service providers delivering support in communities throughout our city. The organizations have repeatedly conveyed the specific gaps that exist in services, and the need for resources and support to help fill them.
“Every New Yorker seeks information and resources from trusted advisors —whether that’s a community-based organization, religious institution or a teacher,” says Murad Awawdeh, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “The Welcome NYC initiative recognizes the vital role these trusted sources play in the lives of all people, but especially for asylum seekers and other immigrants who also need the benefit of cultural and language fluency to help integrate into and navigate their new home. We commend Speaker Adams, the New York City Council, and partnering foundations for ensuring that our newest neighbors can seek help from people they trust in their own communities. It was clear from the moment when the first buses arrived at the Port Authority that giving asylum seekers a proper New York welcome would take the participation of all levels of government, nonprofits, charitable organizations, and all New Yorkers. Welcome NYC takes us one step closer to truly living up to New York’s potential of being a welcoming beacon for all.”
“Over the past year, nearly 50,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York City prompting an urgent crisis in finding housing, clothing, food, and other basic necessities for them. United Way of New York City launched the Emergency Assistance and Community Needs Fund to help community-based organizations provide these needs to our newest New Yorkers. We applaud Speaker Adrienne Adams for her leadership and value our partnership in the Welcome NYC campaign. The investment will help ensure that we will be able to further assist our pantry partners in providing nutritious and culturally relevant foods for asylum seekers,” said Grace Bonilla, President and CEO, United Way of New York City.
“Our city is sustained by immigrants. And it has been community-based organizations rooted in our immigrant communities that have been on the frontlines addressing their needs,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director of the Asian American Federation. “We’re grateful that Speaker Adams and this City Council are taking a leadership role in making sure our newest New Yorkers are getting what they need.”
“The New York City Employment and Training Coalition applauds Speaker Adams and the City Council for recognizing the urgent need to support new arrivals and asylum seekers with the skills and resources they need to thrive as New Yorkers,” said Gregory J. Morris, CEO of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. “New York is a city of immigrants who arrived here to find the work and opportunity they couldn’t find elsewhere, whether they’ve been here for a few weeks or a few years. We help keep that promise of a better life and stronger communities for all New Yorkers by investing in the workforce development programs and creating strong talent pipelines, bringing us closer to a more inclusive and equitable New York City.”
Since last spring, New York City has welcomed more than 47,000 people seeking asylum in the United States. More than 29,000 people remain in the City’s care, primarily in 88 emergency shelters and seven Humanitarian Emergency Relief and Response Centers (HERRCs). The Council has sought to identify and propose constructive solutions, including:
- Advocating for safer indoor HERRC sites and identifying large-scale hotels as better-suited options. This is now the preferred model used by the Administration for HERRCs.
- Holding a two-day Committee of the Whole oversight hearing on the City’s response to determine gaps in services and hear from asylum seekers, the public, and agency officials.
- Releasing a report with policy recommendations to improve city shelters, housing, mental health services, language access, temporary humanitarian shelters, immigration legal services, rental assistance, workforce development, healthcare, education, and other services for all New Yorkers, including asylum seekers.
- Continuing to hold hearings on the issue, including on relevant legislation and other issues. This Friday, the Council will hold a joint oversight hearing examining city contracting related to asylum seekers.
“As we continue to welcome asylum seekers into our city, it’s important that we do our part in providing the resources needed to organizations that are servicing newly arrived families,” said Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala. “I am proud to be part of a Council that is doing just that and I look forward to working alongside these foundations in providing a better life for these families.”
“Since its founding, New York City has been a refuge to migrants from around the world,” said Majority Leader Keith Powers. “The Welcome NYC public-private partnership unveiled today ensures asylum seekers are treated with dignity and that their needs are met.”
“New York City will always welcome newcomers with an open heart,” said Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “The Welcome NYC initiative reflects the Council’s steadfast commitment to ensuring asylum seekers have the resources they need to thrive. We will continue to partner with and support non-profits and community-based organizations providing crucial services to asylum seekers in neighborhoods throughout the City.”
“New York City’s non-profits and faith-based organizations are going above and beyond to provide legal services, coats, food, and much more to newly arrived migrants and their families,” said Council Member Gale Brewer. “These groups know how to maximize every cent of funding. I commend the Speaker for organizing this great initiative.”
“Since the first buses arrived at Port Authority, countless organizations from Mixteca to Make The Road New York have been on the ground helping our newest New Yorkers. They have been doing the necessary work to make our City a welcoming place and today we’re ensuring they have the funding to continue,” said Immigration Committee Chair, Council Member Shahana Hanif. “The Welcome NYC Initiative will ensure critical grassroots organizations have the funding they need to continue supporting asylum seekers for months to come. I am deeply grateful to the Speaker’s leadership on this initiative and look forward to working with her to ensure asylum seekers get the welcome they deserve in New York City.”
“I will never waver when it comes to assisting asylum seekers that arrive in our city looking for a better life and a fair shake,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu. “I am proud to stand with Speaker Adams as we boldly declare our city as the epicenter of the American dream.”
“Community based-organizations, volunteers and grassroots collectives have been working to meet the needs of asylum seekers since before their arrival became news” said Council Member Alexa Avilés. “Our City owes more than gratitude to those organizations, and I applaud the Speaker’s team and this Council for finding the funds and the flexibility to reimburse these organizations for their hard work. Know that we will continue to push to ensure our City has a response to this humanitarian crisis that is culturally-responsive and grounded in compassion and dignity.”
“As our new neighbors have settled into our great city, local leaders and community-based organizations have risen to the challenge of welcoming asylum-seeking families with open arms. They mobilized quickly, identified gaps, and led the charge where agencies could not fill those needs,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. “Time and time again, we lean on non-profit organizations to do the work to keep our city running. Thank you to our Speaker, Adrienne Adams, for seeing the value of these organizations and investing in them so that they can continue to do the work that they have always done, this time with stronger support and resources.”
“The Council has been committed to welcoming, housing, and feeding our newest neighbors, asylum seekers, since the beginning- but none of that could have been done without the support of non-profit organizations,” said Council Member Amanda Farías. “It is great to see that this partnership will solidify the teamwork needed between our private and public partners to ensure our asylum seekers are served with dignity and respect. I look forward to continuing to work with my local organizations, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and my colleagues in the Council to support the success of this partnership.”
“The thousands of asylum-seeking families and children in our city have urgent needs, from housing and food to winter jackets and school supplies,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan. “The City Council’s ‘Welcome NYC’ initiative, which will immediately allocate more than $2 million to serve our newest New Yorkers, is an important, urgent step towards meeting those needs.”
“We’re tremendously thankful to each of the companies that stepped up and partnered with New York City to tackle the city’s asylum seekers crisis,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. “Through this new private-public partnership, Welcome NYC will add another tool to make sure our migrants receive the care they deserve.”
“Immigration is core to the identity of New York City and the United States. We must remain committed to our values –- the values that unite us here in the five boroughs. I commend Speaker Adams and local philanthropic community groups for committing funding to support the various services needed to ensure stability and welcome our new neighbors to NYC,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera. “We need more support across the board to respond to the arrival of individuals and families seeking asylum in New York City- particularly from the federal government. We are a city of great potential and we must continue to be welcoming and focused on lifting each other up.”
“This investment will go a long way to ensuring that all New Yorkers, especially those who are new to our city, have the ability to provide for their family and land on stable footing during such a difficult time in their lives,” said Council Member Lynn Schulman. “I applaud Speaker Adrienne Adams for her leadership in organizing this effort, and the non-profit community for stepping up and making sure no New Yorker is left behind.”
“The City Council is dedicated to ensuring those seeking refuge have access to legal resources and support, in turn, enabling them to make a home here in New York City,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “Our community-based organizations play a key role in our communities, and through initiatives like ‘Welcome NYC,’ they can provide key resources to those in need. This is a city of opportunity, and it’s time we provide a path to becoming a New Yorker.”
“As the first immigrant elected to the 26th Council District, I know firsthand the challenges of being a newcomer and how difficult it is to access the services necessary to assimilate to a new country. Our district currently has more than 20 shelters, many of which house asylum seekers, migrants and refugees. We are witnessing and hearing firsthand, need for expedited work papers, mental health services, and other social services for our new neighbors. The Welcome NYC initiative is an immediate response from the Speaker and the City Council to the cries of many children and families who have come to our city seeking refuge,” said Council Member Julie Won. “I look forward to working with all of our community partners to provide the additional services that our new neighbors are in need of, so that everyone is treated with the dignity and care that the City of New York exemplifies.”