“We know the road isn’t easy, and it’s very difficult to come when you’re brand new and start over, but I truly believe Pittsburgh is a great place to do that.”By Briana Smith

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A local organization is preparing to welcome hundreds of refugees to Allegheny County. Hello Neighbor recently received federal approval to resettle the newcomers.

“We all deserve to have a place, a safe home, the ability to embrace the American ideal, the American dream,” said Sloane Davidson, the founder and CEO of Hello Neighbor.

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Davidson is preparing to make that possible for new arrivals.

It’s now one of four agencies to receive federal approval to directly resettle refugees across Allegheny County. It comes after the Biden administration raised the annual refugee admissions cap to 125,000 for the next fiscal year.

Hello Neighbor plans to resettle 100 refugees from countries such as Syria, Rwanda, Bhutan and Myanmar.

“We’ll also include about 50 Special Immigrant Visas, and these are the Afghans who worked alongside our U.S. military, risking their lives and were promised safe passage,” said Davidson, as well as 100 Afghan humanitarian parolees who are currently on U.S. Army bases.

Once they arrive, Hello Neighbor will help these refugees rebuild their lives through different programs.

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“We match mentors directly with families to spend time together,” said Davidson. “We provide support for pregnant moms and their babies. We provide support through tutoring and remote learning.”

Davidson is also looking for community volunteers and housing.

“Maybe do gift card drives or write welcome letters or birthday cards to our families,” said Davidson. “There are so many ways to get involved with Hello Neighbor right now, and we’re really excited to hear what the community is interested in.”

Davidson also says refugees will make a difference, bringing a mix of cultures and ideas to the area. She says they start businesses at four times the rate of U.S.-born citizens. They could also fill open positions, ranging from the medical field to housekeeping services.

“There’s so much need right now for hiring and job opportunities,” said Davidson. “We know the road isn’t easy, and it’s very difficult to come when you’re brand new and start over, but I truly believe Pittsburgh is a great place to do that.”

If you’re interested in getting involved, click here or email info@helloneighbor.io.

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Hello Neighbor has served more than 800 refugees and immigrants in the greater Pittsburgh area from 17 countries.