Immigrant Social Services (ISS) was founded in 1972 to improve the conditions of immigrants and other under-resourced persons living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side/Chinatown. Since that time, ISS has diligently and proudly served multiple generations of immigrants in the neighborhood. Over the years this has taken the form of various activities and services, including English language instruction; assistance with housing, employment, and immigration; afterschool/summer programs for children and youth; substance abuse and violence prevention programs; youth employment; cultural, sports, and recreational programs.
As an organization with a steady presence in the Lower East Side/Chinatown, ISS is a community staple for vital resources.
While community demographics are shifting, the Lower East Side/Chinatown neighborhood continues to be home to many low-income immigrant families whose needs and priorities are on ensuring a better life for their children. However, the challenges of adapting to a new country; learning a new language; navigating vastly different social, governmental, public and private systems, and work environments; inadequate housing; and limited employment opportunities often leave parents at a loss as to how best to help and guide their children. With this in mind, ISS continues to focus on nurturing and empowering immigrant and underserved children, youth, young adults, and families to develop and restore their agency to strengthen the well-being of their communities.