JFCS East Bay Services for Ukrainian Newcomers – Frequently Asked Questions








How is JFCS East Bay serving Ukrainians?

JFCS East Bay cares very deeply about Ukrainian newcomers. So far, over 160 newly-arrived Ukrainians have connected with us to receive services.

We are glad to provide the following assistance:

  • Our Immigration Legal Services team is conducting legal consults for Ukrainians, helping with work permits, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and other advice and counsel.
  • Our Refugee Services team is currently providing welcome kits, including hygiene items, warm blankets, gift cards, and other resources.
  • Our Volunteer Services team is providing food and grocery delivery, ESL tutoring, transportation assistance, translation services, and other resources to support Ukrainians. To sign up as a volunteer, please fill out the volunteer interest form.


How can I help?

  • Donate to JFCS East Bay’s welcome efforts.
  • Volunteer to help newcomers by filling out the volunteer interest form.
  • Provide gift cards and toiletry items from our Wish List for newly arrived families. All items purchased from this list go directly to refugees and immigrants who need them. Email Ami Dodson for more information: adodson@jfcs-eastbay.org.
  • Stay up-to-date on our efforts for more opportunities to help. Follow our Blog, Facebook, and Instagram.


What legal services can JFCS East Bay offer arriving Ukrainians?

  • Consultation, advice, and orientation on possible legal avenues
  • Assistance in applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for those who qualify (via a follow-up appointment with our office)
  • Assistance in applying for family-based Green Cards for those who qualify (via a follow-up appointment with our office)
  • Information regarding the Uniting 4 Ukraine program to assist Ukrainians still stuck overseas
  • Application for work permits for those who qualify
  • Referrals to other nonprofits and trusted private attorneys

We are not able to provide representation in Ukrainian asylum cases at this time. However, for those Ukrainians whose situations might require asylum, we can provide a referral to a local nonprofit which may be able to assist with those cases.


What volunteer services can JFCS East Bay offer arriving Ukrainians?

JFCS East Bay Volunteer Services is glad to provide the following:

  • Gift cards to Target or Amazon, which allow families to purchase seasonally-appropriate clothing, cookware, etc. (See our Wish List)
  • Toiletry or hygiene “Welcome Kits” that include basic personal items and household supplies
  • Warm blankets for children
  • ESL (English as a Second Language) tutoring via Zoom
  • Transportation assistance (advance notice is required)
  • Emergency grocery shopping and delivery for anyone facing food insecurity
  • Bi-monthly produce and shelf stable food delivery (limited by geographic availability)
  • Backpacks filled with school supplies
  • Other services and items as requested. Please contact Ami Dodson at adodson@jfcs-eastbay.org with specific needs or questions.

To sign up as a volunteer, please fill out the volunteer interest form.


Can JFCS East Bay offer resettlement services for arriving Ukrainians?

The federal government has not authorized resettlement agencies (such as JFCS East Bay) to provide to Ukrainians the kinds of services which are afforded to persons who are technically “refugees.” Because most Ukrainian newcomers do not have this specific legal status, our resettlement options are limited. If a Ukrainian family is able to enter the U.S. with specific “refugee” status, then we may be able to provide them with more comprehensive resettlement assistance such as housing, health care and other benefits, school enrollment, etc. Otherwise, they are most likely to find broader resettlement assistance among the faith community and private citizens.

We are able to provide Ukrainian newcomers with helpful information and some practical assistance to set up their new residences (including gift cards, toiletries, etc. – see our Wish List).


What is sponsoring a Ukrainian and can I do it through JFCS East Bay?

Because Ukrainians entering the U.S. via the Uniting for Ukraine program have Humanitarian Parole status (rather than Refugee status), they are not eligible for the core services typically provided by a resettlement agency like JFCS East Bay. If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact our partner HIAS regarding their Sponsor Circle program.

Sponsoring a Ukrainian means that an individual or group in the U.S. is committing to “receive, maintain, and support” the Ukrainian for two years. Here is a video description. This commitment includes significant time and financial assistance, including:

    • Receiving the beneficiary upon arrival in the United States and transporting them to initial housing
    • Ensuring that the beneficiary has safe and appropriate housing for the duration of their parole (up to 2 years) and initial basic necessities
    • As appropriate, helping the beneficiary complete necessary paperwork such as for employment authorization, for a Social Security card, and for services for which they may be eligible
    • Ensuring that the beneficiary’s health care and medical needs are met (and paid for) during the term of the parole (2 years maximum)
    • As appropriate, assisting the beneficiary with accessing education, learning English, securing employment and enrolling children in school
    • Applying to be a sponsor involves filling out an application, passing security and background vetting, and demonstrating sufficient financial resources.

If you’d like to learn more about how sponsorship works, see the HIAS Humanitarian Parole for Ukrainians Toolkit.


I heard the U.S. is going to accept 100,000 people from Ukraine. What is the latest update?

  • March 24, 2022: The Biden administration announced that the US would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. No implementation details were provided.
  • April 21, 2022: Biden announced the Uniting for Ukraine program, which allows people and organizations in the U.S. to sponsor Ukrainians for admission to the U.S. in temporary parole status (not as refugees). Under this program, only Ukrainians with “sponsorships” can enter the U.S. and they can only stay for a maximum of two years.. This program was created to allow Ukrainians to temporarily stay in the U.S. without creating financial strain on U.S. governmental resources, by passing financial responsibility and resettlement expenses to private sponsors.


Do Ukrainian parolees have access to refugee resettlement services and benefits?

No, individuals granted humanitarian parole under Uniting for Ukraine do not (as of April 25, 2022) have access to resettlement benefits.


Where can I find more information?


Can you recommend any useful community resources?