ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. — The city of South Bend announced a new partnership that will help Afghan refugees resettle in the area, after they fled Afghanistan during the fallout earlier this year.
Nearly 30,000 have already resettled across the country including in Indiana, and now the new Refugee Steering Committee in St. Joseph County is set to help dozens of Afghan refugees find new homes.
“My brother and brother didn’t get out of Afghanistan because they got separated at the gate the day the bomb blast there. I was very terrified we’re they were until I hear from them, said an Afghan refugee at Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s presser on Tuesday.
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Roughly 7,200 refugees who fled Afghanistan were temporarily placed at Camp Atterbury just outside Indianapolis, with federal and local officials working to find them permanent housing including now in South Bend.
On Tuesday the city announced its partnership with Catholic Charities, the United Religious community of St. Joseph County along with La Casa de Amistad, and several other organizations to help up to 60 displaced refugees.
“The Fort Wayne end of our diocese we have been resettling refugees since 1975. We’ve done resettlement work on and off throughout the years in South Bend but we know the community is so loving and caring and they really crave that diversity so we thought this would be a great place to start up the resettlement program as well as in Fort Wayne,” said Nicole Kurut the Mission Advancement Manager for Catholic Charities.
Kurut said similar to what’s already taken place for 60 families in Fort Wayne through federal, national and local sponsors, the organization will assist Afghan refugees in South Bend with things like housing, employment, food and clothing, along with helping them get acclimated into society.
“We will do a lot within the first 90 days. So, our team will be in charge from everything of picking people up from the airport as soon as they arrive to setting up modest housing for them. We get their children enrolled in school within the first 30 days. We make sure that they go to the department of health to receive all of their vaccines and do their health checks,” explained Kurut.
Kurut said though refugees receive a $1200 stipend they’re still asking for the community to pitch in to get refugees back on their feet here in South Bend.
“Most of these people left their country with only a few items packed in a duffel bag. So, they only have those belongings our team will be soliciting a lot of material donations,” added Kurut.
If you’d like to donate or volunteer to help with resettlement efforts including landlords that can help provide housing you can reach out to the Catholic Charities here.
Now we are still waiting to hear back from the mayor’s office on the exact details about the new program, but Kurut told ABC57 they expect to start placement at the beginning of next year.