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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 7, 2022 12:27 PM
From: Senator Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Assistance for Ukrainian Refugees
On February 24th, Russia and President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale military invasion on the sovereign nation of Ukraine. This is an unprovoked and baseless act of war against a peaceful, democratic, and independent nation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has acted without consideration for loss of life, refugee crisis, or international stability; he is a dangerous dictator threatening the entire world. His occupation of Ukraine has the potential to be the most devastating invasion in Europe since World War II.
The invasion is creating a humanitarian crisis that Pennsylvania needs to step up and help address.
I am proposing to use $2 million in state funds to provide assistance to Ukrainian refugees that make it to Pennsylvania.

State funds will provide faster and more flexible ways to invest in services than the federal funds we have on hand. This will allow us to:
  • Support any Ukrainian, regardless of legal status;
  • Provide assistance for as long as necessary. For context, we’re only able to provide 30 days of support for Afghan refugees. For other traditional refugees, we’ve been able to provide support for up to 90 days; and
  • Arrange for as broad an array of services as we see fit to meet local needs; examples include providing for more immediate needs like short term housing or offering capacity to local partners to manage volumes of donations – such as volunteer time and items like clothing or personal care products.  
The $2 million figure matches recent federal infusion of funds to support Afghan arrivals. Pennsylvania has welcomed Syrian and Afghan refugees in the past and these efforts have expanded our local resettlement partners’ capacity to serve more refugees – which means we have a capacity ready to support individuals fleeing Ukraine but have exhausted previous eligible funds.  
Please join me in supporting this legislation.

Introduced as SB1176