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How to Help Support Asylum Seekers

Posted on Tuesday, 08 August 2023

Beginning in August, asylum seekers started arriving in Monroe County from New York City. As of September, 200 asylum seekers, including many young children, are now in Monroe County.

An asylum seeker is a person who has left their country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country, but who hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim. 

While awaiting their claim, the Rochester asylum seekers have been set up with temporary housing and provided immediate resources like food, diapers, clothing, hygiene essentials, case management, and legal assistance. 

New York City is responsible for the funding of seekers' immediate needs, but there will likely be gaps. We are working with our local government partners and frontline nonprofit organizations as the situation evolves.

At United Way, we mobilize resources and relationships so that every individual in every community can thrive. When individuals in need arrive at our doorstep, we act.

Our Asylum Seeker Fund has helped raise over $4,000 to support the immediate needs of our new neighbors. Examples of what we have funded include:

  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste

  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap

  • Diapers and wipes

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Personal undergarments

Interested in helping our asylum seekers?

  1. Volunteer. Help organize hygiene kits for families, including items like soap, toothpaste, and other personal care items. And more.

  2. In-kind donations. Click here for a complete list of needed items.

    • Drop off Locations for Clothing: Matthew’s Closet, 316 Bay St, Rochester, NY 14605 from 10 AM - 12 PM(Saturdays)

    • Drop off Location for Other Items: Ibero Community Resource Center, 216 Clifford Avenue, Rochester NY 14621 from 10 AM - 4 PM (Monday - Friday)

  3. Donate to our Asylum Seeker Fund. Support a network of community-based organizations providing essential resources and services to asylum seekers. 

    • The fund supports resources that address the basic needs of our new neighbors outside of the housing and meals New York City is financing. Thanks to you, we are responding to immediate needs and evolving our resources as the needs evolve. 100% of your donation will stay local and support the needs of our asylum seekers.

Please continue to refer to this page for updates on evolving needs. More information will continue to become available as soon as the need has been identified. 

Note: Please DO NOT send donations to the Holiday Inn on State Street.