HELPING NEWCOMERS THRIVE
In January of 2018, the national YMCA organization honored the YMCA of York and York County as one of the fifteen YMCAs to expand its community service work, granting it the title of YMCA New American Welcoming Center and creating a culture of inclusivity for all individuals and their families. In 2021, the New American Welcome Center expanded into Lancaster and is continuing its inspiring work in that community as part of the merged YMCA of the Roses.
COVID has been particularly challenging for the immigrant population. A lack of knowledge about relief programs and government assistance, when combined with language barriers, has led to a higher mortality rate and greater economic impact for immigrants in the United States. In addition, about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country often are ineligible for or hesitant to seek government assistance, further adding to their struggles.
However, even in normal times, recent arrivals to the country are often at an economic disadvantage. The poverty rate for immigrants is over 43% higher than for native-born residents (14.1% vs. 9.8% in 2017). In addition, the median household income for foreign born residents was 8% lower than native-born residents in 2017 ($57,273 vs $61,987)
The New American Welcome Center works personally with individuals from diverse backgrounds to meet their unique needs. The center’s work focuses on three main areas:
Case Management Services – Program staff are deeply connected with the local community and are able to collaborate with other groups and organizations to connect clients with services and programs
- Literacy program referrals
- Workforce development
Inclusion Building Events -Along with YMCA staff, the New American Welcome Center staff coordinate community-wide cultural events to raise awareness of the diversity that exists in the area and build relationships between different ethnic and cultural groups
- Welcoming Week Celebration
- Coordination of cultural events
- Outreach to and education for local organizations
Direct Assistance – The YMCA works with the New American Welcome Center to provide clients with direct assistance to meet their urgent needs
- Employee/Employer referrals and application assistance
- Emergency housing
- Rent/Utility assistance