NewsArizona News


Refugee resettlement organization calls on community for help

In addition to gathering donations, finding safe, permanent housing in the United States for Afghan refugees is also a big challenge.
Posted at 3:28 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 22:10:44-04

Resettlement organizations are on standby following Governor Ducey’s announcement that Arizona has welcomed its first group of vetted Afghan refugees.

Among the organizations is Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.

CEO Connie Phillips says, their team is ready to welcome refugees within a day's notice.

Though she adds they need the community’s help to ease their transition, she says, they currently have enough housing for any refugees that come their way.

“They want what we all want. They want a safe place for their children to live,” Phillips told ABC15. “We should not have to go to pop-up shelters. We’re good. We have a plan.”

Phillips says the community has already played a big role in that.

“We’ve had well probably over 250 calls in the last few days saying, you know, I’d like to help. At this time we are not taking any more volunteer applications. We just are at capacity,” she added.

They are now asking people to take a look at their Amazon Wishlist.

“We have a very specific, down to the number of forks that we put into an apartment when someone comes as a refugee,” said Phillips.

They also ask that you give them a call when you see places pop up for rent.

“We are not looking for like rooms in people’s homes. We’re actually looking for rental properties,” she told ABC15.

Phillips says any tips on job openings and cash donations are always welcome, too.

“A lot of these folks that are coming as humanitarian entrants, they're not going to be able to receive the same kind of benefits that they do with the normal refugee program," said Phillips.

Lastly, they’re asking folks to be understanding-- as many refugees will come with trauma, and will need time to acclimate and heal.

“It takes a welcoming community to help and support,” she told ABC15.