The IRC in New York, NY

The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. These individuals have survived against incredible odds. The IRC works with government bodies, civil society actors, and local volunteers to help them translate their past experiences into assets that are valuable to their new communities. In New York and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.

Who are refugees?

Refugees are people fleeing violence and persecution—in Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and other countries in crisis. They are seeking safety and the chance to move their lives forward.

Why are refugees arriving in New York?

The United States has a long tradition of sheltering those fleeing conflict and persecution. Once refugees have been identified by the United Nations refugee agency and cleared for resettlement, the U.S. government works with the IRC and eight other national resettlement agencies to help them restart their lives in America. Out of the nearly 20 million refugees in the world, fewer than 1 percent are considered for resettlement worldwide.

Refugees may be placed in a city where they have relatives or friends, or where there’s an established community that shares their language or culture. Other considerations include the cost of living and a community’s ability to provide medical services. However, as legal U.S. residents, refugees may live in any city and state they chose.

Learn more about how refugee resettlement works.

How does the IRC help refugees in New York?

Our programs are designed to ensure refugees thrive in America—whether ensuring children are enrolled in school, adults become self-reliant through employment or starting businesses, or families receive acute medical care they need to recover from trauma or illness. The IRC helps those in need to rebuild their lives and regain control of their future in their new home community.

Refugees are greeted and welcomed at the airport by IRC case workers and volunteers to ensure their transition is as comfortable as possible. The IRC also makes sure newly arrived refugees receive:

  • A furnished home
  • Help with rent
  • Health care
  • Nutritious, affordable food
  • English language classes
  • Help building job, computer, and financial literacy skills
  • Education for their children
  • Social services and community support
  • Legal services towards residency and citizenship

Our programs in New York:

  • Resettlement – The resettlement program offers services for refugees within the first 90 days of arrival which include access to safe housing, culturally-appropriate food, health screenings, cultural orientation, referrals for English training, employment assistance and other benefits.
  • Economic Empowerment - The employment services team provides both immediate assistance accessing entry-level positions and long-term support for people to get recertified in their chosen career fields.
  • Education & Learning – Children & Youth programs offer comprehensive academic and social-emotional supports that leverage younger clients’ resilience, talents, and ambitions to help them achieve their full potential. Through our Family Education programs, we promote early self-sufficiency among newly arrived adults, and longer term, ongoing support for continuing education, career development, and citizenship preparation. 
  • Immigration - The IRC provides high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services, filing applications and petitions for adjustment of status, Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA), family reunification, and naturalization applications.
  • New Roots – The New Roots program focuses on the food access and nutrition needs of refugees, asylees and other immigrant populations during the resettlement process and beyond.


What services does the IRC provide to the wider community?

The IRC in New York offers youth programs, immigration legal services and English language training for community members.

How can I help refugees in New York?

There are many ways that you can get involved with the IRC’s work in New York. You can:

Donate: Give a tax-deductible financial contribution either via the website or sent to our office.

Fundraise for the IRC in New York: Create your own DIY peer fundraiser here to engage and involve your community with raising funds for the IRC in New York. You can also use the "Team Fundraiser" feature to fundraise as a team!

Volunteer Process and Opportunities: Read the steps you need to go through to become an IRC volunteer and see our current list of volunteer opportunities here.

Internship Opportunities: See our current list of internship opportunities here.

Join the Community Interpreter Program: Join the International Rescue Committee in New York as a Community Interpreter Volunteer to help interpret for newly arrived refugees and immigrants.

Spread the Word: Consider hosting your own Fundraising Campaign (on- or offline)—please contact [email protected]  for more information. Stay connected via our newsletter, follow us on Facebook, and ask others to do the same!

Corporate Engagement Opportunities: We invite our partners to organize corporate volunteer opportunities.

Other Ways to Get Involved: Employ refugees, connect us to affordable housing options

What do refugees contribute to New York?

Once they acclimate to their new environment, refugees often thrive and contribute to their communities, building careers, purchasing homes, gaining citizenship.

Welcome from our director

Photo of Executive Director Tina Marie Lopez

Refugees from all over the world integrate and contribute to the fabric of New York. The team at the New York International Rescue Committee work diligently to craft creative solutions to open pathways to opportunities for integration through case management and various direct services. The broken chains and the bright torch on the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor symbolize the universal act of breaking free. Her torch lights the way to healing and prosperity for those seeking refuge in her light. Like the Statue of Liberty, the New York International Rescue Committee team are the gateway for New Americans fleeing from the most dire of situations. The New York team works diligently to provide healing, hope, and a chance for a brighter future for those shattered by conflict and disaster.

Tina Marie Lopez
Director, IRC NYC

Our impact


people in the U.S. received asylum and protection support.

IRC offices across the U.S. provide immediate aid--including food, housing and medical attention—among other support.

Learn about resettlement and asylum


people were assisted to become new U.S. citizens.

The IRC offers high-quality, low-cost immigration legal services and citizenship assistance in cities across the U.S.

Learn about immigration


Our economic empowerment support includes financial coaching, vocational training and asset building.

people with training to help them build careers and income.

Learn more