Social Services

Social services at PSOT are trauma-informed and are applied within an ecological framework, recognizing that support is needed at individual, family, community, agency and governmental levels and at the intersection of these.

We offer prevention services (e.g. psycho-education about rights, eligibility), address ongoing issues, and provide crisis management.  

Accepted clients receive a Social Assessment where their immediate and longer term social service needs are assessed. During this Assessment, social service staff in collaboration with the client develops a plan to address needs including: food access, sufficient clothing, safe and stable housing, employment, education, public benefits and support systems. Clients are then referred to PSOT staff for ongoing social service needs to Program services such as ESL classes, and to outside organization partners.  


PSOT provides classes on-site as well as connects students with the wide array of free education opportunities in every borough as well as institutes of higher learning. Through PSOT’s volunteer program, onsite educational services for clients include English Language Learners (ESL) courses both in small groups and one on one, literacy classes, /Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) classes, and tutoring for the U.S. citizenship examination. PSOT orients its volunteer teachers to trauma-informed approaches in the classroom. Our classes have been designed to address gaps in education opportunities in NYC, notably long waiting lists, learning environments that are challenging for students with significant interpersonal trauma histories, lack of accessibility for persons with physical disabilities, transportation barriers. The goal of many of our students is to begin education in PSOT classes then transition to mainstream classes in their neighborhoods. 


PSOT social service provision responds to changing client needs, city resources, and city, state and federal policies and practices. Since 2004, asylum seekers in NY State qualify for Medicaid so social service staff makes every effort to enroll all eligible clients in Medicaid which covers the cost of medications and necessary procedures. In response to the Affordable Care Act, in 2014 the social service team expanded its health insurance support to enroll those who are eligible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. While clients await employment authorization to work legally in the U.S., PSOT refers clients to services that increase their job readiness, including resume development support and interviewing skills. When clients become legally eligible to work, PSOT staff refers them to job training and placement services offered by refugee resettlement agencies and other organizations. 

Program for Survivors of Torture

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Bellevue Hospital Center, 462 First Avenue, CD732 New York, NY 10016, Tel 212-562-8713, Fax 212-562-4436

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