x
Breaking News
More () »

New Haven refugee, immigrant services agency to facilitate Afghan evacuees resettlement to Connecticut

The resettlement effort has the same feel as 2016, when IRIS helped resettle over 1,000 Syrian refugees in Connecticut, according to Executive Director Chris George.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The United States is expected to welcome up to 80,000 Afghan evacuees in the coming months and Connecticut is ramping up to resettle more than 1,000 of these individuals.

New Haven-based Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) is among the most respected and experienced resettlement agencies in the country, but they are scrambling now.

RELATED: Gov. Lamont issues statement welcoming 300+ Afghan refugees expected in Connecticut soon

This resettlement effort has the same sort of feel as 2016, when IRIS helped resettle over 1,000 Syrian refugees in Connecticut, according to IRIS Executive Director Chris George. 

"We are hiring a lot of new staff," George told FOX61. "We’re going to recruit volunteers. We’re going to train community groups."

Private donations have been a big boost, and the rest of the financial support is coming from the state and federal government.

However, one thing IRIS does not have a lot of control over: housing for the evacuees coming.

"We need as much affordable housing as we can find, and we ask landlords to make their apartments available, maybe give us a break on the rent," George added.

Gov. Ned Lamont says the state is hoping to use some of its federal rent relief money for housing refugees.

Sign up for the FOX61 newsletters: Morning Forecast, Morning Headlines, Evening Headlines

"That’s something we’re trying to negotiate with the feds right now so we can take care of people," Lamont said Thursday morning.

Before these refugees arrive, many across Connecticut want to know how they are being vetted. The answer is yes.

"Everyone, who comes to us here at IRIS, has gone through a very thorough vetting process involving the CIA, the FBI, other foreign intelligence agencies," George said.

"I know they’re [federal government] taking it seriously," Lamont added. 

IRIS expects to resettle at least 700 mostly Afghan evacuees over the next year.

The White House said Connecticut will get probably be home to the first few hundred refugees over the next month or so, according to Lamont. 

Bridgeport-based Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI), will also help to place the individuals all across the state.

"If you can find the time to form a group of people in your community that is willing to be trained by my staff, we will place a refugee family there in your neighborhood," George said.

The State of Connecticut has also joined Welcome.US, a bipartisan organization committed to helping Afghan refugees resettle.

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

---

Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com  

---

HERE ARE MORE WAYS TO GET FOX61 NEWS

Download the FOX61 News APP

iTunes: Click here to download

Google Play: Click here to download

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM