Frank Schultze / Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
Russia launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February 2022. As a result, more than 7.5 million refugees have fled the country in search of safety. The majority are women and children in need of protection and support.
The conflict has continued to escalate, and Russian forces have targeted Ukrainians indiscriminately. This has caused thousands of civilian casualties and decimated key infrastructure. Many of the families who have escaped to neighboring countries have arrived with only the clothes on their backs. The Ukrainian economy has also plummeted, leaving these refugees with little or no financial security.
Shortly after the conflict began, President Biden committed to welcome up to 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine. He also announced that Ukrainians who are already in the United States would be granted Temporary Protected Status making them safe from deportation.
In April, the administration announced the Uniting for Ukraine initiative. Under Uniting for Ukraine, people who have fled the conflict in Ukraine are eligible for humanitarian parole, a temporary legal status that allows beneficiaries to stay in the U.S. for up to two years. Individuals applying to travel to the U.S. through Uniting for Ukraine must apply with a sponsor, which can be a group or individual in the U.S. who commits to supporting the beneficiary after they arrive in the country.
CWS Ukrainian Sponsor Groups
To assist in the Uniting for Ukraine response and the sponsorship needs for displaced Ukrainians, CWS has started a Ukrainian Sponsor Group program. Through this program, CWS recruits, trains, and supports sponsor groups throughout the first six months of the sponsorship period so that they can help displaced Ukrainians achieve stability in the U.S.
CWS Ukrainian Sponsor Groups are background checked and trained to ensure Ukrainian beneficiaries receive safe and responsible care. The service delivery requirements for Ukrainian Sponsor Groups will include assisting clients with the following, as applicable:
- Home setup
- School enrollment
- ELL (including connecting clients to existing ELL programs)
- Employment (including connecting clients to existing employment services)
- Applying for government benefits
- Medical appointments
- Cultural orientation
- Applying for Social Security cards and employment authorization documents
- Connection to legal services
- Selective service registration
- Change of address forms
Although Ukrainian humanitarian parolees are eligible to work and receive government benefits in the U.S., individuals and organizations who wish to sponsor a Ukrainian arrival must also demonstrate they have the financial resources to support them for the duration of their parole if necessary.
Why Partner with CWS?
While sponsors do not need to partner with CWS to participate in Uniting for Ukraine, the CWS Ukrainian Sponsor Group program allows groups to utilize the experience and expertise of resettlement agency staff while navigating the resettlement process. Staff are available for hands-on support and are in regular communication with groups while they provide services for Ukrainian newcomers. Ukrainian Sponsor Groups also have access to CWS resources, including:
- Uniting for Ukraine sponsorship manual
- 14-week resettlement guide
- Best practices for fundraising
- Airbnb grant for short-term housing needs
- National resettlement network
- Enrollment in additional remote caseworker support as needed
For faith-based groups, CWS staff can provide connection to a broad coalition of faith leaders and congregations as needed. However, groups do not need to be affiliated with a religious organization to partner with CWS.
Supporting Local Offices
If you are not in a position to sponsor but would still like to help with CWS’s response to the Ukrainian crisis, you can volunteer with your local office. Local volunteers help provide services like setting up apartments, tutoring, transportation, and more. Fill out the form below and a CWS staff member will contact you with more information.
- URGENT: Urge Congress & the Biden Administration to Welcome Refugees and Rebuild the U.S. Resettlement Program
- How to Help Ukrainian Refugees in the United States
- Housing Initiatives for Ukrainian Evacuees (click to download PDF)
- Lautenberg Fact Sheet (click to download PDF)
- Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine Lautenburg Reauthorization and Ways to Help
- Ukrainian Backgrounder - CORE
- Uniting for Ukraine | Homeland Security (dhs.gov).
- Welcome.US | Explainer.