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Mon Valley region sees increase in refugee and immigrant populations

MVI staff participated in the Afghan Support Center event last month in downtown Pittsburgh, a four-day, no cost event that provided an opportunity for Afghan nationals to talk to staff from government agencies and local service providers.

Afghan Support Centers act as a one-stop-shop for information regarding public health, education, legal assistance, employment, social services, and housing. These events are a follow-up to the Welcome Centers created during the initial phase of Operation Allies Welcome (OAW), a U.S. federal government program focused on assisting Afghan arrivals with resettlement support services.

Interpreters were on-site to assist attendees, and MVI had its informational flyers translated into Pashto and Dari, the two most commonly spoken languages in Afghanistan, by Global Wordsmiths, a local organization focused on providing translation, interpretation, and training around language access.

In recent years, the Pittsburgh region has seen an increase in refugee and immigrant populations looking to make Western Pennsylvania home, many of whom are within the Mon Valley region. Throughout Washington, Westmoreland, and Allegheny counties, MVI’s Workforce Development and Financial Coaching program has seen a higher level of recently immigrated community members seeking employment and financial education resources.

“Our team has seen an increase in refugee and immigrant populations from all over the world – at both our Homestead and Charleroi offices – which can add an additional barrier for participants of language and culture,” Charles Howell, MVI Workforce Development & Financial Coaching Director, said. “It’s encouraged us to increase our understanding of immigration policy and the often-complex visa processes, as well as to engage with partners that specialize in this work.”

MVI has been working with organizations such as Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) that have been actively supporting refugee resettlement and providing immigration-related legal assistance. To find out more about their work, visit jfcspgh.org.

If you or someone you know needs help with finding a job, improving financial health, or getting on a path toward homeownership, call MVI at 412-464-4000 or contact us online.

Mon Valley Initiative