Madison, Wisconsin (WMTV) – Refugees from Afghanistan who have been housed at military bases like Fort McCoy are finding permanent housing in Wisconsin. Lutheran Social Services has been helping find homes in southern Wisconsin for refugees who have been living in temporary housing in the United States since August.
LSS is committed to assisting at least 100 refugees. The group is looking for housing, jobs, schools and other necessities for refugees to start their new lives in America. Mary Flynn, director of programs at LSS, says the organization can help 200 or more refugees depending on how many sponsors are involved to help with refugee status.
Co-Sponsors are organizations, groups or churches that work with the LSS to help furnish the new home, act as guides to the new community and provide a support system for refugees coming into their area.
It is a way to help resettle families and new members in a society that has been tested by time and success.
“It’s a very time-honored way of helping newcomers to the United States go back to World War II,” Flynn said. “Many churches in the United States reached out and did this work; in 1974, it became more formal and what we now know as refugee resettlement.”
Refugees come to Wisconsin from bases across the country, including Fort McCoy. Many of the refugees have been living in temporary housing at these military bases since August.
As they move from bases to new homes, Flynn says the biggest challenge isn’t the language barrier; It’s the social differences in the United States
“The United States is a very individualistic society, and it’s actually very isolated in some ways,” Flynn said. “Afghans and refugees always teach us what we miss in the United States in terms of community, extended social networks, and extended families.”
She added that participating sponsors also offer a social group to help give refugees an immediate sense of community in their new homes.
To register for the Joint Sponsor Program, go to the LSS website and find the form at the bottom of the Refugee Resettlement page.
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