New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner Manuel Castro announced an additional $1.65 million in funding for Fiscal Year 2023 to help newly arrived Haitian New Yorkers access immigration legal assistance and numerous social services. This funding is an increase from last year, bringing the total investment for New York City’s Haitian Response Initiative to $3.15 million. To mark the importance of this announcement a Haitian flag raising ceremony was held at Bowling Green near Wall Street in Manhattan.
“I am proud to be the mayor of the largest Haitian population in the United States and pleased to announce the additional $1.65 million in funding that’s being provided to help newly arriving Haitian New Yorkers,” said Mayor Adams. “These funds will provide much needed services and resources that the city regularly provides to all immigrant New Yorkers. As we raise the Haitian flag, we say today and every day, that we stand with our Haitian community and will always have their back.”
“I am proud to stand with the Haitian community today. Haitian immigrants have long been woven into the fabric of the city and today we honor each of you,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “The funds announced today will provide additional support for newly arrived immigrants, as they and their families begin calling New York City home. Thank you to MOIA and to all the community-based organizations involved in this effort.”
“New York City has and will continue to be a place of refuge for those who are escaping conflict. Our administration is committed to supporting New York City’s Haitian community in their time of need,” said MOIA Commissioner Castro. “We look forward to working with community groups serving Haitian New Yorkers that are located immediately within our city’s Haitian communities, to provide daily support and services to their fellow community members, including those who have recently resettled in New York City.”
“The Haitian community is critical to New York City’s fabric, and I applaud Mayor Adams’ continued investment in support of the community, said Mayor’s Office for International Affairs Commissioner Edward Mermelstein. “Leaving home is never easy, but my office is proud to be part of efforts to help our new neighbors thrive across the five boroughs. I look forward to working closely with Commissioner Castro, our colleagues at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Consulate of Haiti, and other stakeholders to facilitate newly arrived Haitian New Yorkers’ access to immigration legal assistance and social services.”
The state of New York is home to the second-largest population of foreign-born Haitians in the United States. Through this initiative, community members will receive linguistically and culturally responsive case management, cash assistance, and support services directly and through referrals. They will also receive immigration legal assistance, such as comprehensive immigration legal screenings, removal defense, and help accessing asylum, Temporary Protected Status, and other humanitarian forms of relief. Additionally, the initiative includes a technical capacity building component in which immigration legal experts provide training to staff at coalition community-based organizations (CBOs), to help them better understand immigration-related requirements and timelines, and effectively pre-screen and refer clients for immigration legal services. Finally, the initiative will include a public information and education campaign, as well as interpretation and translation.
The following CBOs will continue to receive funding to provide case management, legal, and language services — building upon the work they have been conducting since the recent influx of Haitian migrants began:
• Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP)
• Haitian American Community Coalition (HCC)
• Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees
• Life of Hope
The Research Foundation of the City University of New York (CUNY) will provide support with contract and fiscal administration, and CUNY Brooklyn College’s Haitian Studies Institute will consult with partners to ensure information and services provided through the initiative are culturally and linguistically responsive.
“As co-chair and co-founder of the Congressional House Haiti Caucus and a Caribbean-American woman, I am so pleased to see my city not only celebrate the vibrant culture and gracious people of Haiti but embrace them throughout the trying times confronting them,” said U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke. “Rather than repress an already hurting people, I believe it is now our moment to do the work that will uplift and support Haitian voices, wherever they arise. Through the Haitian Response Initiative, it is a great comfort to know our city’s leaders share this essential sentiment.”
“Haitians make up a fast-growing racial and ethnic group in America. In May, I wrote to President Biden asking the nation’s leader to proclaim May as Haitian Heritage Month, in recognition of our rich culture, heritage, and contributions to the United States,” said New York City Councilmember Farah Louis. “Today in New York City, we are taking a step forward by raising Haiti’s flag, to honor and recognize the rich Haitian culture. As the first free, independent Black republic in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti served as the catalyst for other countries to fight for their independence. Today, Haitian Americans are essential to America as medical professionals during the height of the pandemic community leaders, and beyond. This monumental moment is proof that no matter what disaster Haiti and its people endure, the global community stands strong and vigilant, with current and future generations by their side.”
“As a proud Haitian immigrant, I know how crucial it is to prioritize the needs of Haitian asylum seekers. New York is a city of immigrants and bolstering the city’s commitment to supporting newly arriving Haitian New Yorkers is a huge win for our community,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph.
“I thank Mayor Adams for this very public display to the entire city and fitting tribute to the vast contributions of Haitian Americans here in New York City, a place where we welcome all immigrants with open arms,” said New York City Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse. “Haitian Americans have undoubtedly contributed to the greatness of New York City, and with our resolute Caribbean spirit intact we will always push forward because we are the living embodiment of the American Dream, and that dream, we should never let it die.”
“As home to the second-largest population of Haitians in the United States, New York City’s commitment to supporting the Haitian community is critical,” said Jonathan Jiménez, MD, MPH, executive director, NYC Care. “The announcement of additional funding is a testament to that commitment and the success of the Haitian Response Initiative. This funding will empower Haitian New Yorkers to seek the care they are entitled to. I thank Mayor Eric Adams, Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, and Commissioner Manuel Castro for their advocacy and support for the Haitian community.”
“Catholic Charities is excited to partner with Mayor Adams and the Office of Immigrant Affairs on this Haitian Response Initiative, which brings much-needed outreach and legal assistance to New York City’s Haitian families. We are thrilled to know that this innovative program — through which our legal team already has served hundreds in need this year — will continue next year, bringing stronger supports through cultural, legal pro bono, and capacity building and public education,” said C. Mario Russell, Esq., director of immigrant and refugee services, Catholic Charities Community Services.
“Diaspora Community Services was created by the Haitian community 40 years ago. Today we continue to honor those individuals and their vision of assisting immigrant families and empowering them with our various services. The continued funding from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs leverages our ability to effectively provide continued services to the Haitian community going through a difficult crisis. We are glad we will be able to help,” said, Carine Jocelyn, CEO, Diaspora Community Services.
“We made it, congratulations to all, this is the end of the school year and a perfect time for this exciting news of renewal funding for the Haitian community. At Flanbwayan we are happy that our immigrant / ELL students will continue to receive both the academic and social-emotional support they need and deserve. We thank MOIA for investing in English Language Learners,” said Darnell Benoit, director, Flanbwayan Haitian Literacy Project.
“HCC Applauds and welcomes the support of MOIA in helping our Haitian migrants in their quest for survival and better lives. We hope that this is only the beginning as these issues present themselves with multiple layers. HCC joins MOIA and other Haitian organizations by bringing its services, its dedication, and its commitment to the cause of its Haitian brothers and sisters,” said Andre Peck, MD, executive director, Haitian American Community Coalition.
“Life of Hope is so proud to be a part of this important Haitian Response Initiative. Mostly, we applaud Commissioner Castro and his office for taking action on the successful renewal for Fiscal Year 2023. To date, we have been able to serve hundreds of the neediest because of this great program and look forward to expanding on our work and capabilities. We together will also continue to advocate for the needs of this community,” said Porez Luxama, executive director, Life of Hope.
The initiative was originally launched in December 2021 to provide key services and support to Haitian New Yorkers impacted by the natural disasters and political upheaval that have transpired in Haiti.