Haiti: The Philadelphia Impact
Learn about how the earthquake's effects are being felt in our region.
Update May 2011: The U.S. government has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to include Haitians who arrived in the U.S. up to 1 year after the January 2010 earthquake. More information.
Update Jan. 2011: Check out our new Haitian Immigrant Resource Guide, available for free download on our publications page.
The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti had immediate effects for the more than 11,000 Haitians (and thousands more Haitian Americans) who live in the Philadelphia region. Local response to the quake was swift and powerful.
Many Haitian community associations and religious groups provided immediate personal help. Nonprofit organizations gave legal information and advice. Elected officials provided individualized services to Haitian constituents. Hospitals and healthcare providers donated their services. Members of the public contributed food, materials, and money to the relief effort.
In addition, in March 2010, the William Penn Foundation announced that the Welcoming Center received a grant from the Foundation to coordinate assistance to the Greater Philadelphia Haitian community. Under this grant, the Welcoming Center has worked with numerous Haitian community organizations and BIA-recognized legal services providers to help the Haitian community with support in three areas: Legal Information and Assistance; Employment Information and Assistance; and Community Group and Individual Needs.
THIS WEB PAGE HAS INFORMATION FOR:
- Haitian immigrants
- Advocates, social workers, and constituent-affairs staff
- Journalists and researchers
- Nonprofit agencies, community groups, or congregations
For legal advice and help, including applying for Temporary Protected Status or getting a work permit, contact:
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- Nationalities Service Center
- Catholic Social Services
For help finding a job, if you have a work permit, call the Welcoming Center at 215-557-2626.
For other questions, call the Welcoming Center or see information elsewhere on our website about enrolling your child in school, finding a place to live, getting a driver's license, and finding healthcare.
If you are a Haitian immigrant not living in the Philadelphia area:
Contact Desiree Wayne for information about services for Haitians in New York, Boston, Miami/South Florida, Montreal and other areas.
See above resources for general assistance to your client(s) or constituents.
FOR INFORMATION REGARDING:
- K-12 school enrollment issues, refer to a short flyer provided by the Welcoming Center (also in Creole) and official guidance from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education
- Healthcare eligibility, contact Pennsylvania Health Law Project
- Eligibility for food stamps and other public benefits, contact Community Legal Services. Also contact CLS for a copy of the "Basic Guide to Immigrants and Food Stamps in Pennsylvania," developed by CLS and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.
- Inquiries about child custody, adoption or other family or immigration law issues, contact Desiree Wayne
For specific questions that are not addressed above, please contact Desiree Wayne.
HAITIAN COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS:
- Haitian Professionals of Philadelphia
- Haitian Community Help Center (267-312-0693)
- Haiti Coalition of Philadelphia
- Mayor's Commission on African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs
HAITIAN NEWS SOURCES:
- Radio Soleil D'Haiti
- Radio Kiskeya
- Radio Pa Nou
- Voice of America Creole Service
- Haiti Observateur
- Haiti Liberte
- Haitian Times
If you are on deadline, call the Welcoming Center main office at 215-557-2626. Otherwise, please see if your question can be answered below.
The most reliable recent information about the number of Haitians living in our area is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. For details, visit the Census website, or view Census data as analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute.
Keep in mind that “foreign born” data in the Census includes only people actually born in Haiti. People born in the U.S. to Haitian parents, often referred to as Haitian-Americans, are not included in these Census numbers.
Also be aware that depending on the data set you are viewing, the Philadelphia region is variously defined as a 1-county, 5-county, or 9-county metropolitan area.
If you are looking for information about the Haitian Community Project, funded by the William Penn Foundation:
The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children's futures, and deepen connections to nature and community. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance a vital, just, and caring community. Learn more about the Foundation online at www.williampennfoundation.org
To learn about the Haitian Community Project specifically, contact Desiree Wayne.