More than 300 Afghan refugees will be arriving in Connecticut over the next few weeks and members of a task force to help the refugees have been working to prepare to welcome them to the state and offer a network to provide care.
They will be setting up apartments, looking for employment for refugees and helping students get into schools.
They are looking for landlords to offer safe and affordable housing, tutors to work with children and employers who can hire refugees.
“This crisis is ongoing. We will be seeing and resettling refugees from Afghanistan over the next three, four, five, 10 years,” Susan Schnitzer, president & CEO, for Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants said.
"These evacuees are our allies and have supported our country for years, and it is our turn to return the favor," Gov. Ned Lamont said. "Connecticut has a legacy of being there for those in need, and we are proud to answer the call.”
Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services, IRIS, is a non-profit agency with offices in Hartford and New Haven, and said they need volunteers and donations. They said their immediate need is housing.
“This should be an issue on which every American is united,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Friday morning.
He said there is something unique about the relationship with the thousands of Afghans because they have been our allies through decades of war.
“Their lives are at risk, their family’s lives are at risk. We need to come together,” Bronin said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security ensured that the refugees will be vetted, in addition to having all necessary vaccinations, including for COVID-19, added officials.
Senator Richard Blumenthal and resettlement workers anticipate that refugees will begin arriving in large numbers in communities across the U.S., perhaps as early as next week.
Lamont said he has directed the Connecticut Department of Social Services to ensure all of the necessary resources are available and ready to support these men, women and children with food, shelter, education and job training.
"It is our obligation and our duty to ensure these Afghan refugees feel welcome in our state," said Lamont.
The State of Connecticut has also joined a bipartisan organization committed to helping Afghan refugees resettle called Welcome.US.