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Welcoming Refugees

Partnerships and Community Commitment

The Outlook for FY2018

During this time of refugee bans and legal actions, it is expected that in FY2018 there will be a dip in resettlement cases and program funding.  The challenge before us is how do we continue to keep the grass roots momentum for refugee resettlment and support in Westschester County alive and people of goodwill engaged during this time? With input from a coalition of organizations and individuals throughout the welcoming network, we have an exciting lineup of innovative ways that your communities and organizations can get involved and help refugees both here and outside our County.  We will be finalizing in early fall.  

For more information on The Framework for Action in Year Two, please contact us at

In the meantime, go to "GET INVOLVED: Other ways to support refugees" to learn more about an exciting October-November "Pelham to Syria Winter Donations Drive."

History of the Grass Roots Welcoming Movement in Westchester County

Hearts and Homes for Refugees (HHR) was created in the fall of 2015 as a task force of Pelham residents to explore ways to welcome refugee families to our community and to inspire, educate and motivate others to do the same.

Today, HHR represents nearly 300 volunteers and supporters largely from our Pelham community. Additionally, HHR has been building support for welcoming refugees and mentoring other communities looking for ways to get involved in welcoming and supporting refugees.

Throughout the lower Hudson Valley, many people asked how they can respond to the refugee crisis. Over 80 faith-based and civic organizations  signed the Hudson Valley Call to Action. These signees are lending their voices to supporting welcoming refugees, and, like HHR, a growing number have been and continue to explore co-sponsorship opportunities.

Another "force" in the call to lend a hand to refugees in the Hudson Valley is The Westchester Refugee Task Force (WRTF). Represented by over 30 civic and interfaith groups in Westchester, WRTF has been and will continue to be a valuable partner in disseminating information, identifying new members, building networks and offering various meaningful support activities(e.g. furniture drives, communications and messaging about refugee resettlement) for co-sponsoring communities and organizations. HHR will continue to partner with WRTF throughout the resettlement process.

Greater NYC for Syria (GNYC4S) came onto the scene with a single FB post asking what so many have asked:  "How can we make a difference in the lives of refugees?"  With over 1,300 FB followers in the Greater NYC area, GNYC4S is able to connect people of goodwill to the needs of refugees and the government contracted agencies that support resettlement.

In response to the outpouring of support, two of the nine government-approved Resettlement Agencies – Catholic Charities Community Service (CCCS), and Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) opened offices in Westchester County. For the first time, refugees are able to be welcomed to Westchester County and HHR and a dozen other organizations have been able to be a small part of the solution in this global humanitarian crisis as co-sponsors and hosts in partnership with CCCS and HIAS.

In keeping with our mission to "inspire, educate and motivate others,"  HHR will contnue to work with other communities to welcoming and lend a hand to refugees. Together, we hope to build on the grass roots movement.