Haitian Communities

Haiti: The Philadelphia Impact

Learn about how the earthquake's effects are being felt in our region.


Check out our Haitian Immigrant Resource Guide, available for free download on our publications page.


The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti had immediate effects for the more than 11,000 Haitians (and thousands more Haitian Americans) who live in the Philadelphia region. Local response to the quake was swift and powerful.

Many Haitian community associations and religious groups provided immediate personal help. Nonprofit organizations gave legal information and advice. Elected officials provided individualized services to Haitian constituents. Hospitals and healthcare providers donated their services. Members of the public contributed food, materials, and money to the relief effort.

Shortly after the quake, the William Penn Foundation made a grant to the Welcoming Center to coordinate assistance to the Greater Philadelphia Haitian community. Under this grant, the Welcoming Center worked with numerous Haitian community organizations and BIA-recognized legal services providers to help the Haitian community with support in three areas: Legal Information and Assistance; Employment Information and Assistance; and Community Group and Individual Needs.


If you are a Haitian immigrant in the Philadelphia area:

For legal advice and help, including applying for Temporary Protected Status or getting a work permit, contact:

For help finding a job, if you have a work permit, call the Welcoming Center at 215-557-2626.

For other questions, call the Welcoming Center or see information elsewhere on our website about enrolling your child in school, finding a place to live, getting a driver's license, and finding healthcare.

If you are a Haitian immigrant not living in the Philadelphia area:

Contact Desiree Wayne for information about services for Haitians in New York, Boston, Miami/South Florida, Montreal and other areas.

If you are an Advocate, Social Worker or Constituent Affairs staff member:

See above resources for general assistance to your client(s) or constituents.


For specific questions that are not addressed above, please contact Desiree Wayne.



If you are a journalist or researcher:

If you are on deadline, call the Welcoming Center main office at 215-557-2626. Otherwise, please see if your question can be answered below.

Demographic Information

The most reliable recent information about the number of Haitians living in our area is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. For details, visit the Census website, or view Census data as analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute.

Keep in mind that “foreign born” data in the Census includes only people actually born in Haiti. People born in the U.S. to Haitian parents, often referred to as Haitian-Americans, are not included in these Census numbers.

Also be aware that depending on the data set you are viewing, the Philadelphia region is variously defined as a 1-county, 5-county, or 11-county metropolitan area.

If you are looking for information about the Haitian Community Project, funded by the William Penn Foundation:

The William Penn Foundation, founded in 1945 by Otto and Phoebe Haas, is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region through efforts that foster rich cultural expression, strengthen children's futures, and deepen connections to nature and community. In partnership with others, the Foundation works to advance a vital, just, and caring community. Learn more about the Foundation online at www.williampennfoundation.org

To learn about the Haitian Community Project specifically, contact Desiree Wayne.