Welcome Circles for Ukrainians
Be part of the solution in helping Ukrainians suffering from the effects of war.
Catholic Charities Boston is honored to be one of six agencies nationwide participating in Welcome Circles for Ukrainians, a pilot program developed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services. We are asking volunteers from parishes, communities of faith, or organizations who are willing to provide financial support, guidance, and community connections to help Ukrainian families resettle in Massachusetts.
What is a Welcome Circle?
Welcome Circles are groups of 5 or more adults who agree to financially support Ukrainians through the U4U program and to help them navigate their new community in the United States. Examples of Welcome Circles include parishes or other communities of faith, families, and local cities/organizations. Access the Welcome Circles toolkit below for more information.
How to Participate
To become a Welcome Circle, please contact Philip A. D’Agati, Program Manager, Community Sponsorship and Engagement, at email@example.com or 617.388.5479.
Welcome Circles Information Sessions
Interested in becoming a welcome circle? Sign up for an information session. For details please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
All groups will need to take these steps to organizing a welcome circle:
- Identify a Ukrainian Family and have the sponsor fill out the I-134 form.*
- Complete the Sponsor Circle Application**
- At minimum, one member of the Circle completes a short online training
- All members of the Circle complete a Background Check and sign the Code of Conduct
- Complete, review and upload a Welcome Plan***
* Catholic Charities will assist in identifying a Ukrainian family if you are not aware of one that you already wish to support.
** We will assist with the application as needed.
***We will provide a draft of the Welcome Plan that you can augment to reflect opportunities specific to your community and your group.
Note: The “Umbrella Organization” for the Welcome Circle Program is USCCB.
Welcome Circles will help Ukrainians establish new roots in the U.S. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
Arrange housing for newcomers, provide furniture and essential items
Assist newcomers in applying for public benefits like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid.
Make connections to necessary healthcare.
Help adults find employment in their new community.
Enroll children in school, enroll interested adults in English Classes.
Anyone can join a Welcome Circle. You will need at least one person to sponsor and fill out the form I-134, and will need 4 additional people. They can be family, friends, colleagues, fellow parishioners, etc.
No, but you certainly can. If you know a family you wish to sponsor, then they are your beneficiary match for the I-134 form. If you do not, then once the Sponsor Circle is formed, we will connect you with a service that will match your group with a family in need. If possible, it would be great to have a faith-based institution or other non-profit organization connected to the circle as well.
The 1-134 is a federal form issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant Services (DHS) and used to declare adequate financial resources or financial support to pay expenses for a temporary stay in the United States. Financial support may come from the Sponsor, the members of the Welcome Circle, an affiliated Church or other non-profit. The Beneficiary is the Ukrainian family that your Welcome Circle will receive and support. According to Clinic Legal, prior court rulings stated the Sponsor is not legally liable for expenses that the beneficiary may incur thus eliminating financial risk in filling out this form. More information is available here.
No, however it will be helpful to your group to house them close by so providing services to the family does not involve a lot of extra travel. If cost nearby is prohibitive, there is still a lot of flexibility as to where you can find housing.
Yes, the Welcome Circle program does not require separate permanent housing. An in-law suite, an extra bedroom or two, an unused finished level are all viable housing options for a Welcome Circle supporting a Ukrainian refugee. The housing can be with a member of the Circle or provided to the Welcome Circle by anyone else.