By the middle of the week, two refugee resettlement programs in Tucson are expected to have placed 53 Afghans in housing in the city and are working to help families and individuals feel at home, officials said. .
“Everyone who has come here has been very grateful to the community, and they are grateful to be here,” said Heidi Urbina, spokesperson for Lutheran Social Services Southwest.
Urbina said the resettlement program can accept 150 Afghan refugees. Five have arrived and 20 more are expected this month.
The other local refugee resettlement program, International Rescue Committee, said its program expects to receive 400 refugees in Tucson, said Melanie Reyes, community outreach coordinator for IRC. So far, the agency has received 41 and a family of seven is expected to arrive by Wednesday.
The State Department’s Office for Refugee Resettlement will contract for refugee services with national organizations that will allocate money to local resettlement organizations for staff, housing and other expenses.
Lutheran social services and the International Rescue Committee will help refugees apply for a work permit, find a job, enroll children in school and find other resources to support individuals and families.
The resettlement process includes mental health support and addresses physical issues, officials say.