Nationalities Service Center just launched a Fund for Immigrant Justice - Generocity Philly

Funding

Jul. 16, 2018 12:14 pm

Nationalities Service Center just launched a Fund for Immigrant Justice

Amidst funding cuts and an increased workload, the immigrant and refugee service agency is fundraising to hire a full-time attorney to serve low-income clients for free.

A Nationalities Service Center staffer with an immigrant client.

(Photo via facebook.com/NationalitiesServiceCenter)

In 2017, Nationalities Service Center (NSC) saw $1 million in forced cuts to programming and reallocation of resources for the 5,000 immigrants and refugees it serves per year due to fallout from the so-called federal travel ban.

And in the past 18 months, the social services agency has also seen a 300 percent increase in legal consults due to a local crackdown of Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests, even for those with no criminal convictions.

At the end of last year, NSC created its “Keep Philadelphia Welcoming” campaign to combat the loss of funding with unrestricted donations.

“When you resettle four refugees, and you’re expected to sustain a capacity of X number of staff to get them houses, to get their kids into school, to get them healthcare, to get them jobs, that’s just not sustainable,” Executive Director Margaret O’Sullivan told Generocity at the time. “Having general operating funds allows us to be malleable in how we apply and how we use the funds that we’re raising, and put it where the need is greatest.”

Recently, NSC also launched its Fund for Immigrant Justice fundraising project to help it handle the increase of legal consults.

The first phase of this project, to run from June 2018 through May 2019, seeks to raise $100,000 to hire a full-time attorney who will provide free legal services and counsel for low-income immigrants “along the spectrum of status” and manage 40 to 50 clients.

The fund will also pay for the costs of applications, filing fees — which can range from $200 to $1,800 per application, according to NSC — and related expenses for clients with incomes below 125 percent of the federal poverty level guidelines.

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So far, the fund has collected $5,900 in donations.

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