Settlement Houses and Assistance

Our website focuses on how Settlement Houses and aid organizations catered to Jewish and Mexican immigrants coming to America.

For clarification, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a Settlement House is “an institution providing various community services to large city populations”.

In this project, we focus on how aid was provided in Eastern Europe and Mexico, and contrast that to how the needs of the immigrant groups changed once they were living in New York. Jewish immigrants coming from the shtetl were accustomed to small, communal-aid based societies. Since they were isolated from non-Jews in Europe, they had to rely on each other for jobs, food and shelter, medical care, and other necessities. When they reached New York they were presented with a decision; to assist and support solely each other, or to accept help from Settlement Houses, organizations acknowledged as being very “American”, but which did offer many resources. Since Mexican immigrants are largely undocumented in the United States, aid organizations tend to avoid helping them due to the risk of drawing negative attention to themselves. However, there are quite a few organizations that promote the loosening of immigration restrictions, and try to provide the basic necessities Mexican immigrants need to survive in this country. By providing free education, places of residence, job placement, and information on obtaining green cards, many of these organizations have dramatically helped illegal Mexican immigrants. Our research shows that the aid these two immigration groups received drastically differed, primarily due to the fact that unlike Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century, Mexican immigrants are illegal.

Click the links below to read more about the assistance that was available to both Jewish and Mexican immigrants.


Function of the shtetl

Religion & charity

Collection & distribution of tzedakah


Settlement Houses & their alternatives

Other Settlement Houses:

All of these Settlement Houses are still in existence today and continue to serve their communities




Journey to America

No Más Muertes


Aid Organizations

Casa Puebla

Mexican Consulate

Project Hospitality

The Role of the Church

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