LANSING, Mich. — Close to 300 refugees from Afghanistan are expected to come to Lansing to start their new lives in the coming weeks.
Judi Harris, who heads up the division of St. Vincent Catholic Charities focused on resettling refugees, says the number of refugees coming to the region declined in recent years, but "with the new administration everything is going to grow nationally and internationally.
"So we did accept to take 400 refugees this year," she said. "Then the Afghanistan crisis occurred, so, on top of those 400, we are also going to be resettling 300 Afghan evacuees."
Harris says her team is actively looking for housing in and around Lansing that will accommodate the new arrivals.
Erika Brown-Binion of the Refugee Development Center says Afghan refugees have already started arriving but more are expected in the coming weeks.
Brown-Binion says her agency fills in the gaps for refugees settling here.
“That includes English classes, tutoring programs, mentoring. Digital literacy and computer and understanding. Financial literacy and all of the above,’ she said.
Harris says resettlement has worked in the Lansing region because of all of the other agencies in town that support St. Vincent’s.
“We have so many community partners here. And that’s one of the reasons why we do it big is because this is such a supportive community here. We’ve found that Lansing is probably one of the best places in the U.S. to resettle refugees,” she said.
Harris says most of the refugees will live in Lansing but some may be in surrounding areas like Mason and Okemos.
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