Ceiba and EILS Organize FREE Immigration Legal Screening + Immigrant Rights and Tax Reform Workshops

On Thursday, November 15, 2018, at 5:30 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize a FREE immigration legal screening clinic and workshops on immigrant rights and tax reform.

At the session, EILS and Ceiba will educate the community on Individuals Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), how recent changes in tax law will affect ITIN holders, and immigrants’ rights if stopped by ICE. After the workshops, EILS, Ceiba, and a team of trained volunteers will perform comprehensive immigration legal screenings for all types of immigration relief, including asylum, family petitions, U-Visas, and VAWA.

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The event will take place at Ceiba, located at 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122.

“In the wake of ‘Trump’s Tax Reform,’ there is a lot of confusion in the immigrant community regarding the coming tax season. At the session, we will inform taxpayers of tax changes that could affect them in 2019,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator. 

“Unauthorized immigrants should get screened for possible immigration remedies as soon as possible, as applying for legal status and eventual citizenship is the only permanent protection from deportation,” said Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services.

As part of the session, Ceiba and EILS will also inform attendees of their rights if stopped by ICE.

For more information and to register for the session, call 215-634-7245.

Ceiba and EILS Organize Public Charge Information Session

On Tuesday, October 16th 2018, at 4:30 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize a Public Charge Information Session. The event will take place at Esperanza College, located at 4561 N. 5th St. Philadelphia PA 19140.

Under longstanding policy, the federal government can deny an individual a “green card” or a visa if they believe the individual will become a “public charge.” A “public charge” is someone who primarily relies on the government for subsistence. On September 22, the Trump Administration announced a proposed rule that would expand the criteria for being considered a public charge, including receiving benefits such as:

  • Medicaid

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Medicare Part-D Low Income Subsidy Program

  • Housing assistance

At the session, EILS and Ceiba will partner with Community Legal Services (CLS) to share information about the proposed rule.

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“It is imperative that the immigrant community understand the meaning of these proposed changes to the “public charge” rule, so that they continue receiving benefits for which they qualify,” said Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. The changes, if made permanent, would likely lead to broad decreases in participation of Medicaid and other programs among immigrant families and their US born children.

“The proposed rule, if implemented, would unfairly punish immigrant families and US born children who lawfully receive public benefits,” expressed Diego Tapia, Ceiba Program Director.

Ceiba and EILS will provide information at the session about what the public can do to prevent the implementation of the rule.  

At the information session, Ceiba and EILS will also provide information regarding financial assistance to pay for the cost of applying for immigration relief.

For more information, call 215-324-0746.

Ceiba Organizes Reinvest Philly Summit

On October 9th, 2018, Ceiba serve as a co-convener for the Reinvest Philly Summit. The Reinvest Philly Summit will address strategies to combat redlining, displacement, and gentrification using tools like the Community Reinvestment Act, small business development, and partnering with healthcare and financial institutions as anchors of community development.

Click here to register for the event using Ceiba’s co-convener discount code.

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SCHEDULE

8:15 AM - 8:50 AM - Light Breakfast & Registration
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM - Sessions
•    Defending the Community Reinvestment Act
•    Denied: Discrimination in Minority Small Business Lending
•    Confronting Philly’s Epidemic of Mass Evictions
•    Working with Hospitals as Anchor Institutions
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM - Sessions
•    Building Entrepreneurship In Our Business Corridors
•    Who Can Stop Redlining?
•    The Future of Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley
•    Financing for Community Development
12:30 PM - 2:00 PM - Lunch
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM - Sessions
•    Access to Wealth Building for People of All Abilities
•    Bridging the Gender Gap: Investing in All Women
•    Gentrification, Displacement, & Strategies to Maintain Diversity in Philly
•    Supplier Diversity: Doing Business with Hospitals and Anchor Institutions
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM - Plenary Session: PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Ceiba Graduates Ira Lubert Matched Savings Participant

Ceiba congratulates Dulce R., one of its first 2018 United Way Ira Lubert Matched Savings Program Graduates.

Ceiba helped Dulce R complete her first tax return in 2014. At that time, Ceiba helped Dulce complete three years of prior year tax returns, in which she was eligible to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a credit of up to $6,318 per year. Ceiba has done Dulce’s taxes since 2014. In 2017, Dulce enrolled in Ceiba’s Ira Lubert Matched Savings Program for First Time Homebuyers. As part of the program she completed six hours of financial literacy and five hours of housing counseling with Ceiba. In June of 2018, Dulce purchased her first home in Philadelphia for her family using her tax refunds, savings, and the funds from the matched savings program. Congratulations, Dulce!

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Ceiba and EILS Organize FREE Immigration Legal Screening + Immigrant Rights & Tax Reform Workshops

On Wednesday, September 19th at 5:00 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize a FREE Immigration Legal Screening + Immigrant Rights and Tax Reform Workshops. Learn about the ITIN, how the tax return will affect ITIN holders, and your rights if confronted by ICE.

After the workshops, get screened for possible immigration relief by immigration attorneys, accredited representatives, and trained volunteers.

The event will take place at Ceiba, 174 Diamond St. Philadelphia, PA 19122. 

Please RSVP by calling 215-634-7245 to reserve your spot.

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Ceiba and EILS Organize FREE Immigration Legal Screening

On Wednesday, June 20th 2018, at 5 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize a FREE immigration legal screening clinic. 

At the clinic, EILS, Ceiba, and a team of trained volunteers will perform comprehensive immigration legal screenings for all types of immigration relief, including asylum, family petitions, U-Visas, and VAWA. 

 The event will take place at Ceiba, located at 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122.  “Unauthorized immigrants should get screened for possible immigration remedies as soon as possible, as applying for legal status and eventual citizenship is the only permanent protection from deportation,” said Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services.   “At the screening, we will also provide a Know Your Rights workshop and information regarding financial assistance to pay for the cost of applying for immigration relief,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.    As part of the session, Ceiba and EILS will inform attendees of their rights if stopped by ICE.  For more information and to register for the session, call 215-634-7245.

The event will take place at Ceiba, located at 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122.

“Unauthorized immigrants should get screened for possible immigration remedies as soon as possible, as applying for legal status and eventual citizenship is the only permanent protection from deportation,” said Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. 

“At the screening, we will also provide a Know Your Rights workshop and information regarding financial assistance to pay for the cost of applying for immigration relief,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.  

As part of the session, Ceiba and EILS will inform attendees of their rights if stopped by ICE.

For more information and to register for the session, call 215-634-7245.

Ceiba Participates in Panel Titled #ThisisAmerica: A Conversation About Race in America

On May 22, 2018, Ceiba’s Executive Director, Will Gonzalez, participated in a panel discussion following the showing of a documentary titled #ThisisAmerica: A Conversation About Race in America.

The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Pennsylvania (APABA-PA) and Blank Rome LLP hosted the event in Philadelphia in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Will was joined on the panel by Nydia Han (moderator), 6ABC consumer reporter, and co-anchor of Action News Sunday mornings; Tsiwen Law, civil trial lawyer with his law firm, Law & Associates, L.L.C., and a founder of APABA-PA; and Reggie Shuford, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.

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Ceiba and EILS Organize FREE Family Petition Screening Clinic

On Wednesday, May 16th 2018, at 5 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize a FREE family petition legal screening clinic. 

 At the session, EILS and Ceiba will share information about the eligibility requirements and application process for Lawful Permanent Residents and US citizens to petition family members.   US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may petition for ‘immediate relatives’ to legally immigrate to the United States through either a visa or Permanent Residency. Immigration law defines ‘immediate relative’ as:  • Child, unmarried and under age 21  • Parent, if the petitioner is age 21 or over  • Sibling, if the petitioner is 21 or over  • A fiancé(e) residing outside the United States and children of fiancé(e) under 21  • Spouse  • Children of spouse, unmarried and under 21  A Lawful Permanent Resident may only petition for his/her spouse and unmarried children.   After the information session, EILS, Ceiba, and a team of trained volunteers will perform immigration legal screenings for individuals who wish to petition family members.  The event will take place at Ceiba, located at 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122.  “At the screening, we will also provide information regarding financial assistance to pay for the cost of applying for immigration relief,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.    For more information and to register for the session, call 215-634-7245.

At the session, EILS and Ceiba will share information about the eligibility requirements and application process for Lawful Permanent Residents and US citizens to petition family members. 

US citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents may petition for ‘immediate relatives’ to legally immigrate to the United States through either a visa or Permanent Residency. Immigration law defines ‘immediate relative’ as:

• Child, unmarried and under age 21

• Parent, if the petitioner is age 21 or over

• Sibling, if the petitioner is 21 or over

• A fiancé(e) residing outside the United States and children of fiancé(e) under 21

• Spouse

• Children of spouse, unmarried and under 21

A Lawful Permanent Resident may only petition for his/her spouse and unmarried children. 

After the information session, EILS, Ceiba, and a team of trained volunteers will perform immigration legal screenings for individuals who wish to petition family members.

The event will take place at Ceiba, located at 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122.

“At the screening, we will also provide information regarding financial assistance to pay for the cost of applying for immigration relief,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.  

For more information and to register for the session, call 215-634-7245.

Ceiba and EILS Organize FREE Immigration Legal Screening

On Tuesday, April 24th 2018, at 5 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize a FREE immigration legal screening clinic.

Legal clinic Flyer 4.24.2018-page-001 (1).jpg

At the clinic, EILS, Ceiba, and a team of trained volunteers will perform comprehensive immigration legal screenings for all types of immigration relief, including asylum, family petitions, U-Visas, and VAWA. 

The event will take place at Ceiba, located at 174 Diamond St., Philadelphia PA 19122.

“Unauthorized immigrants should get screened for possible immigration remedies as soon as possible, as applying for legal status and eventual citizenship is the only permanent protection from deportation,” said Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. 

“At the screening, we will also provide a Know Your Rights workshop and information regarding financial assistance to pay for the cost of applying for immigration relief,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.  

As part of the session, Ceiba and EILS will inform attendees of their rights if stopped by ICE.

For more information and to register for the session, call 215-634-7245.

Ceiba Organizes Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinics for Evacuees of Puerto Rico Affected by Hurricane Maria

Since January, Ceiba has organized five pro-bono FEMA legal clinics (three in Philadelphia, one in Lancaster, and one in Reading) to assist evacuees of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria in Pennsylvania.

At the clinics, Ceiba organized attorneys, law students, and paralegals to assist Puerto Rican evacuees from Hurricane Maria in Pennsylvania to: 

• Register with FEMA

• Submit claims to FEMA 

• Appeal FEMA claim denials

• Address other legal matters

 See clinic media coverage  here .

See clinic media coverage here.

Info Session and Immigration Legal Screening to help Immigrant Victims of Crime

On Monday, March 12th 2018, at 5:30 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize an information session and immigration legal screening clinic to help immigrants who are victims of a serious crime and may be eligible for immigration relief under VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) or the U-Visa Program.

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VAWA and the U-Visa Program provide relief for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of these crimes, which include but are not limited to:

• Domestic violence

• Sexual assault

• Aggravated assault

• Trafficking

• Blackmail or extortion

Following the information session, Ceiba and EILS will perform comprehensive immigration legal screenings.

The event will take place at Esperanza College, located at 4261 N. 5th St., Philadelphia PA 19140.

“Many people are not familiar with VAWA and U-Visas, so we want to take this opportunity to inform the immigrant community on who is eligible and what the process entails,” expressed Alexis Duecker, Executive Director of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. There will be trauma informed immigration lawyers, accredited representatives, and trained volunteers at the Information Session to answer questions and perform comprehensive screenings.

“Even those who aren’t eligible for VAWA or U-Visas should attend the event, as we will offer free immigration legal screenings following the session to determine eligibility for any type of immigration relief,” said Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.  

The session will also provide information regarding financial assistance to cover the costs of applying for immigration relief.

To register for the session, call 215-324-0746.

Ceiba and EILS Organize DACA Information Session following federal court order to continue accepting DACA renewals

On Thursday, January 25th 2018, at 5 PM, Ceiba and Esperanza Immigration Legal Services (EILS) will organize an information session to update the community on the state of DACA following the California federal district court’s nationwide preliminary injunction that halts the administration’s efforts to end DACA. As a result of this preliminary injunction, USCIS issued a statement on January 13th, 2018 announcing that they will begin accepting DACA renewals. Accordingly, Ceiba and EILS will also assist individuals who are eligible to renew their benefits to complete their renewal applications at the session.

The event will take place at Esperanza College, located at 4261 N. 5th St., Philadelphia PA 19140.

 “During this confusing time, it is important that the community fully understand what this injunction means for DACA recipients. We also encourage those who believe they are eligible for renewal to talk to an immigration attorney or DOJ accredited representative as soon as possible, as we do not know if or when the decision will be appealed.” said Maria Thomson, Legal Coordinator of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. There will be immigration lawyers and accredited representatives at the Information Session to answer questions and help with renewal applications.  “Under the current reality, the community must be vigilant in staying up-to-date on DACA and the proposed legislation surrounding it, as those changes have the potential to not only affect DACA recipients, but also the immigrant community as a whole,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.    At the information session, Ceiba and EILS will also share information regarding the proposed legislation surrounding DACA.   The session will also provide information regarding financial assistance to cover the costs of renewal.  To register for the session, call 215-324-0746.

“During this confusing time, it is important that the community fully understand what this injunction means for DACA recipients. We also encourage those who believe they are eligible for renewal to talk to an immigration attorney or DOJ accredited representative as soon as possible, as we do not know if or when the decision will be appealed.” said Maria Thomson, Legal Coordinator of Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. There will be immigration lawyers and accredited representatives at the Information Session to answer questions and help with renewal applications.

“Under the current reality, the community must be vigilant in staying up-to-date on DACA and the proposed legislation surrounding it, as those changes have the potential to not only affect DACA recipients, but also the immigrant community as a whole,” expressed Taylor De La Pena, Ceiba Program Coordinator.  

At the information session, Ceiba and EILS will also share information regarding the proposed legislation surrounding DACA. 

The session will also provide information regarding financial assistance to cover the costs of renewal.

To register for the session, call 215-324-0746.

Secure Disaster Relief From FEMA

 On Saturday, February 3rd, 2018, at 10AM, at Esperanza College, 4261 N 5th Street, Philadelphia PA 19140, attorneys, law students, and paralegals will run a pop-up pro bono legal clinic to assist Puerto Rican evacuees from Hurricane Maria in Pennsylvania to:   • Register with FEMA  • Submit claims to FEMA   • Appeal FEMA claim denials  • Address other legal matters  The legal clinic is organized by the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Toll Public Interest Center at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, The Vanguard Group, Unidos PA'PR, Ceiba, and the Philadelphia Bar Association.   More than three months have passed since Hurricane Maria lashed the 3.4 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico with sustained winds of 155 MPH, yet most of the island (which is only slightly larger than Connecticut) is still without electricity, making this blackout the largest major power outage in US history. Without electricity and crucial amenities, many people are fleeing Puerto Rico out of necessity. Pennsylvania is a major destination for evacuee; a recent report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College estimates that more than 56,000 Puerto Ricans are expected to evacuate to the Keystone State before 2019. A Disaster Assistance Center set up to help Puerto Rican evacuees coming to Philadelphia helped more than 2000 people between October and December.  Evacuees interested in receiving assistance to connect with FEMA and secure disaster relief through the free legal clinic must register by:   • Visiting  http://bit.ly/CeibaFEMAclinic   • Sending an email to info@ceibaphiladelphia.org  • Calling Ceiba at: 215-634-7245.   Victims of Hurricane Maria have until March 20, 2018 to file a claim with FEMA and 60 days to appeal a denial by FEMA if they filed a claim and were denied disaster relief.   For more information about the Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinic please contact Ceiba at 215-634-7245. 

On Saturday, February 3rd, 2018, at 10AM, at Esperanza College, 4261 N 5th Street, Philadelphia PA 19140, attorneys, law students, and paralegals will run a pop-up pro bono legal clinic to assist Puerto Rican evacuees from Hurricane Maria in Pennsylvania to: 

• Register with FEMA

• Submit claims to FEMA 

• Appeal FEMA claim denials

• Address other legal matters

The legal clinic is organized by the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the Toll Public Interest Center at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, The Vanguard Group, Unidos PA'PR, Ceiba, and the Philadelphia Bar Association. 

More than three months have passed since Hurricane Maria lashed the 3.4 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico with sustained winds of 155 MPH, yet most of the island (which is only slightly larger than Connecticut) is still without electricity, making this blackout the largest major power outage in US history. Without electricity and crucial amenities, many people are fleeing Puerto Rico out of necessity. Pennsylvania is a major destination for evacuee; a recent report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College estimates that more than 56,000 Puerto Ricans are expected to evacuate to the Keystone State before 2019. A Disaster Assistance Center set up to help Puerto Rican evacuees coming to Philadelphia helped more than 2000 people between October and December.

Evacuees interested in receiving assistance to connect with FEMA and secure disaster relief through the free legal clinic must register by: 

• Visiting http://bit.ly/CeibaFEMAclinic

• Sending an email to info@ceibaphiladelphia.org

• Calling Ceiba at: 215-634-7245. 

Victims of Hurricane Maria have until March 20, 2018 to file a claim with FEMA and 60 days to appeal a denial by FEMA if they filed a claim and were denied disaster relief. 

For more information about the Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinic please contact Ceiba at 215-634-7245. 

Attorney, Paralegal, Law Student Volunteer Sign Up: Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinic

 Are you an attorney, paralegal or law student interested in helping victims of Hurricane Maria?   If so, please volunteer at the Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinics to Help Victims of Hurricane Maria which Ceiba, the Hispanic Bar Association of PA and the Toll Public Interest Center  University of Pennsylvania Law School are organizing in the coming weeks.   The second Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinic takes place on:   Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 10AM-2PM  at Esperanza College, 4261 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19140  Assist Puerto Rico evacuees in Pennsylvania:  • Register with FEMA  • Submit claims with FEMA in advance of the March 20, 2018 deadline  • Appeal FEMA claims  No prior experience or knowledge of FEMA matters is required; training provided to all volunteers. CLE credit available.   Please sign up to volunteer today !  If you have any questions, contact Ceiba at: info@ceibaphiladelphia.org  Thank you for helping Puerto Ricans on the island and in Pennsylvania affected by the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the US.

Are you an attorney, paralegal or law student interested in helping victims of Hurricane Maria? 

If so, please volunteer at the Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinics to Help Victims of Hurricane Maria which Ceiba, the Hispanic Bar Association of PA and the Toll Public Interest Center

University of Pennsylvania Law School are organizing in the coming weeks. 

The second Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinic takes place on: 

Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 10AM-2PM

at Esperanza College, 4261 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19140

Assist Puerto Rico evacuees in Pennsylvania:

• Register with FEMA

• Submit claims with FEMA in advance of the March 20, 2018 deadline

• Appeal FEMA claims

No prior experience or knowledge of FEMA matters is required; training provided to all volunteers. CLE credit available.

Please sign up to volunteer today!

If you have any questions, contact Ceiba at: info@ceibaphiladelphia.org

Thank you for helping Puerto Ricans on the island and in Pennsylvania affected by the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the US.

Ceiba and its members lead the way in helping Puerto Ricans post Hurricane Maria

Ceiba and its member agencies are working tirelessly to assist Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria, both on the island and those evacuating to Pennsylvania. 

 

  Map highlighting the number of people moving to Philadelphia from towns in Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria.    Concilio , a Ceiba member, is playing a prominent role. Concilio has served as the fiscal sponsor for  Unidos PA’PR , the primary post-hurricane relief organization in Southeastern Pennsylvania weeks before Puerto Rico was lashed with sustained winds of 155 MPH on September 20, 2017 by Hurricane Maria. When Unidos PA'PR was formed it was organized to address the threat posed by Hurricane Irma, which grazed Puerto Rico on September 7, 2017, killed 12 people, and left a million people without electricity. As Unidos PA'PR worked to help the island, little did it know that a much greater threat, Hurricane Maria, the fifth strongest hurricane in US history, was to make a direct landfall on Puerto Rico.   To date, Unidos PA’PR has raised more than $335,000 to help hurricane victims. This money has been used to adopt 2,000 families in Puerto Rico and to provide water filters, tarps, lanterns, and mosquito nets among other things to families on the US island territory. Additionally, funds have been used to ship 8 million pounds of relief supplies to Puerto Rico.    The Norris Square Community Alliance  (NSCA), a Ceiba member, raised over $3,600 for Unidos PA'PR and collected 50 palettes of food, water, and supplies. It dedicated its annual neighborhood festival in October to accept donations. NSCA staff also volunteered at the Unidos PA’PR warehouse to collect and transport relief materials to a central location where it was packed and shipped to Puerto Rico.   Esperanza , another Ceiba member, has seen over 45 Puerto Rican evacuee families at their housing counseling department in Eastern North Philadelphia to date. More than three months have passed since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico yet most of the island (which is only slightly larger than Connecticut) is still without electricity, making this blackout the largest major power outage in US history. Without electricity and crucial amenities, many people are fleeing the island out of necessity. Many of them are coming to Pennsylvania. A  recent report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College  estimates that more than 56,000 Puerto Ricans are expected to evacuate to the Keystone State before 2019. Esperanza’s CareerLink assisted over 15 people from the island looking for employment in the last quarter of 2017. Seven of them found jobs so far. Esperanza college helped five Puerto Rican evacuee students continue their college studies in Philadelphia.  Ceiba's efforts on behalf of hurricane victims has been in the convening, coordination, and advocacy fronts. To date, within Unidos PA'PR, Ceiba helped to:  • Organize two well attended convenings of Philadelphia nonprofits in November  • Coordinate the work group structure of nonprofits interested in working together to serve Puerto Rico evacuees  • Work hand in hand with FEMA to produce two webinars on how to help people register with FEMA and secure information about their eligibility for disaster relief  • Design an  infographic on Disaster Unemployment Assistance   • Plan Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinics with the  Hispanic Bar Association of PA  and the  Toll Public Interest Center of the University of Pennsylvania Law School   Ceiba's advocacy is focused on helping people in southeastern Pennsylvania and their Congressional delegation understand the depth of the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the needs of evacuees coming to the Keystone State. This includes:  • Making presentations at convening’s and conferences  • Meeting Congressional legislative staff in Washington DC  • Coordinating advocacy activities with national Puerto Rican organizations and think tanks   • Writing  Op-eds   Much more work remains to help rebuild Puerto Rico and to assist hurricane evacuees coming to Pennsylvania. Ceiba and its member organizations look forward to continuing to work with other nonprofits and government agencies on these important matters in the coming months. 

Map highlighting the number of people moving to Philadelphia from towns in Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria.

Concilio, a Ceiba member, is playing a prominent role. Concilio has served as the fiscal sponsor for Unidos PA’PR, the primary post-hurricane relief organization in Southeastern Pennsylvania weeks before Puerto Rico was lashed with sustained winds of 155 MPH on September 20, 2017 by Hurricane Maria. When Unidos PA'PR was formed it was organized to address the threat posed by Hurricane Irma, which grazed Puerto Rico on September 7, 2017, killed 12 people, and left a million people without electricity. As Unidos PA'PR worked to help the island, little did it know that a much greater threat, Hurricane Maria, the fifth strongest hurricane in US history, was to make a direct landfall on Puerto Rico. 

To date, Unidos PA’PR has raised more than $335,000 to help hurricane victims. This money has been used to adopt 2,000 families in Puerto Rico and to provide water filters, tarps, lanterns, and mosquito nets among other things to families on the US island territory. Additionally, funds have been used to ship 8 million pounds of relief supplies to Puerto Rico. 

The Norris Square Community Alliance (NSCA), a Ceiba member, raised over $3,600 for Unidos PA'PR and collected 50 palettes of food, water, and supplies. It dedicated its annual neighborhood festival in October to accept donations. NSCA staff also volunteered at the Unidos PA’PR warehouse to collect and transport relief materials to a central location where it was packed and shipped to Puerto Rico.

Esperanza, another Ceiba member, has seen over 45 Puerto Rican evacuee families at their housing counseling department in Eastern North Philadelphia to date. More than three months have passed since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico yet most of the island (which is only slightly larger than Connecticut) is still without electricity, making this blackout the largest major power outage in US history. Without electricity and crucial amenities, many people are fleeing the island out of necessity. Many of them are coming to Pennsylvania. A recent report by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College estimates that more than 56,000 Puerto Ricans are expected to evacuate to the Keystone State before 2019. Esperanza’s CareerLink assisted over 15 people from the island looking for employment in the last quarter of 2017. Seven of them found jobs so far. Esperanza college helped five Puerto Rican evacuee students continue their college studies in Philadelphia.

Ceiba's efforts on behalf of hurricane victims has been in the convening, coordination, and advocacy fronts. To date, within Unidos PA'PR, Ceiba helped to:

• Organize two well attended convenings of Philadelphia nonprofits in November

• Coordinate the work group structure of nonprofits interested in working together to serve Puerto Rico evacuees

• Work hand in hand with FEMA to produce two webinars on how to help people register with FEMA and secure information about their eligibility for disaster relief

• Design an infographic on Disaster Unemployment Assistance

• Plan Pop-Up Pro Bono FEMA Legal Clinics with the Hispanic Bar Association of PA and the Toll Public Interest Center of the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Ceiba's advocacy is focused on helping people in southeastern Pennsylvania and their Congressional delegation understand the depth of the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico and the needs of evacuees coming to the Keystone State. This includes:

• Making presentations at convening’s and conferences

• Meeting Congressional legislative staff in Washington DC

• Coordinating advocacy activities with national Puerto Rican organizations and think tanks 

• Writing Op-eds

Much more work remains to help rebuild Puerto Rico and to assist hurricane evacuees coming to Pennsylvania. Ceiba and its member organizations look forward to continuing to work with other nonprofits and government agencies on these important matters in the coming months.