Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Resettlement Agencies In Western Mass. Lining Up Resources For Afghanistan Evacuees

An Afghanistan evacuee deplanes in Italy on August 22, 2021, assisted by U.S. military.
An Afghanistan evacuee deplanes in Italy on August 22, 2021, assisted by U.S. military.

Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing for hundreds of evacuees from Afghanistan coming to western Massachusetts.

That includes finding employment, clothing and legal assistance for arrivals. 

Catholic Charities executive director Kathryn Buckley-Brawner said finding affordable housing is their top priority.

“We're actually reaching out to all of our constituencies — different stakeholders — asking for places that could temporarily house the Afghani evacuees for anywhere from three to six months,” she said.

Shannon Hanson, program manager at Ascentria in West Springfield, said her agency has been open to community support.

"We've had people reaching out in northern Mass. that say, 'We have a community that really wants to help support a family,' or are asking what they can do to help out," Hanson said. "And if it's a strong support team that can help us resettle someone in that area, then we'll do it."Resettlement agencies say they get some funds for each evacuee from the federal government — but only for a three-month window. Agencies say it will take longer than that to resettle evacuees. 

"Without those federal benefits, the onus is really on us to their rent, and pay for their food until we're able to help them find employment," Hanson said. "And then they can eventually be self-sufficient."

Chris George, director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven, said he has his next year mapped out.  

"We plan to resettle about 200 refugees in the Greater Hartford area," he said. "That would be Hartford, East Hartford, West Hartford, Manchester, Glastonbury, Rocky Hill."

George said his agency is opening a second office in Hartford, as soon as next week, staffed with about five or six people.

Copyright 2021 New England Public Media. To see more, visit New England Public Media.

Nirvani Williams
Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America. Prior to this, Williams was the associate editor of Seema, an online publication dedicated to spreading more stories about women in the Indian diaspora, and has written a variety of articles, including a story about a Bangladeshi American cybersecurity expert and her tips for protecting phone data while protesting. Williams interned at WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News,” WSHU public radio, and La Voce di New York, a news site in Italian and English. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stony Brook University, where she was the executive editor of the student-run culture magazine, The Stony Brook Press.
Latest Stories