News & Updates

How to welcome and support new arrivals in Westchester

May 23, 2023

For years, people have immigrated to New York to build new lives for their families and contribute to the vibrant communities we have around the state. Right now, we have the opportunity to build welcoming communities where new arrivals can integrate quickly and contribute economically, socially and culturally to their new homes.

The asylum seekers being bussed from New York City into the Hudson Valley are individuals and families who are often fleeing violence and persecution. Seeking asylum in the United States is their legal right and many people are now waiting for the cases to be processed.

Neighbors Link is coordinating very closely with a variety of government agencies and community partners to identify the best ways to support new arrivals. Our partner in Yonkers, Westhab, is operating the Yonkers site where the first cohort of new arrivals are residing in Westchester.

Our legal team has already been on the ground, doing legal needs assessments for recently transferred asylum seekers from New York City.

This increase in new arrivals could be an important economic boon to New York State. The state is facing labor shortages in key industries and immigration could be key in recovering the labor force and tax base. Currently, asylum seekers are required to wait at least 150 days after filing an asylum claim before they can apply for work authorization. Governor Hochul, Mayor Adams and many other leaders are calling for expedited work permits for asylum seekers. This would be a win for our economy as well as for individuals and families who are seeking asylum and trying to build a self-sufficient life in New York.

We will be posting updates here on how people can help. Currently, the most urgent need is for gift cards. Specifically, Visa, Mastercard, Uber, Lyft and Target gift cards are needed to help families pay for personal items. If you would like to send gift cards, please mail them to Kathy Thorsberg, CFO, Neighbors Link, 27 Columbus Avenue, Mount Kisco, NY 10549.

Neighbors Link stands ready to continue to support and welcome new arrivals, but this work is time intensive and we need your financial support. Donations can be made here. 

If you are looking for ways to discuss asylum seekers and new arrivals, please view our talking points here.