Refugee Information


A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.  A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

Refugees are real people, just like you and me. They have hopes and dreams. No one chooses to be a refugee. Each refugee has a unique story, yet all refugees experience years of hardship, deprivation and fear. Their stories are filled with bravery, determination and human strength. All refugees express gratitude for the opportunity to come to the United States. A new beginning, a chance to start over - their opportunity has now become our responsibility - to "Welcome the Stranger".

When the refugees arrive in Rochester, they are happy to be in a safe place, but they also experience a tremendous sense of loss. They leave behind family, friends, homes, possessions, and livelihoods. They must start over in a strange country, unable to speak the language or understand the customs. It is an overwhelming experience. Our goal is to assist the refugees in becoming self-sufficient as quickly as possible. By respecting their dignity and encouraging self-reliance, we are hoping to streamline their transition into American society.


Poverty in Rochester Effects Refugees



  Rochester School District, located in Monroe County, is the poorest large urban school district in New York State.  Its student academic performance is also the poorest.  



The wealthiest upstate school district is also in Monroe County, and at their closest points, Rochester School District and Monroe School District are exactly 1.5 miles apart.

Affordable Housing


 Often referred to as "HUD apartments," there are 3,899 Project-Based Section 8 subsidized apartments in Rochester.



 More than half of Rochester's children live in poverty, based on a Census Bureau Survey of 2017 income.  At 56.4 percent, Rochester's childhood poverty rate is three times the national average of 18.4 percent, and ranks third in the nation, following Flint, Michigan, at 60.5 percent, and Gary, Indiana, at 58.7 percent. 



 Rochester now has more people living at less than half the federal poverty level than any other similarly-sized city in the U.S.  

Rochester is the 3rd poorest city in the country (among the 75 largest metro areas). 

More children living in poverty


 More than 50% of Rochester’s children are poor, revealing the harsh truth that Rochester is the poorest U.S. city of its size for children.

Nearly 25,000 children in Rochester live beneath the poverty line, including 7,000 under the age of five.