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Hundreds of Afghan Refugees will resettle in Lansing and surrounding areas

Several local agencies are banding together to make the new residents part of the community
Hundreds of Afghan refugees will resettle here in Lansing
Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 18:16:22-04

LANSING, Mich. — This month, hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan are expected to come to the Capital City to start their new lives.

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,’ said Brown-Binion.

Since 1975, St. Vincent Catholic Charities has been helping people make the Lansing –area their home.

Judi Harris, who heads up the division of the non-profit focused on resettling refugees, says the number of refugees the organization has helped in recent years has declined but that is changing.

“You know with the new administration everything is going to grow nationally and internationally. So we did accept to take 400 refugees this year. Then the Afghanistan crisis occurred so on top of those 400 we are also going to be resettling 300 Afghan evacuees,” said Harris.

Harris says her team is actively looking for housing in and around Lansing that will accommodate the evacuees.

She says resettlement has worked here 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,” Harris said.

Harris says most of the refugees will live in Lansing but some may be in other neighboring cities like Mason and Okemos.

A few families have already started to come to the area and many more are expected in the coming weeks.

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