PHOENIX - Afghan refugees are resettling across the U.S., and hundreds will be arriving in Arizona in the coming weeks.
Ahead of the refugees' arrival, organizations in the state are getting ready to welcome them.
Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest in Phoenix is one of the locations getting ready to receive the refugees. One specific location could be welcoming up to 200 individuals, come fall.
"When people arrive and they feel welcomed, they feel safe," said Connie Phillips, CEO and President of the Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest.
Besides their Phoenix location, the organization is also preparing to welcome Afghan refugees at their Tucson location.
"In order to prepare for the fold that will be coming from Afghanistan, we had to reach out and make sure that we had the language available, and we're in the process of identifying housing to be able to to support the families when they arrive," said Phillips.
Phillips says it will be a long road for these refugees, but staff members will be there every step of the way.
"Think about just getting put into a whole other country, where you can't speak the language, read the signs. They do things so differently, you don’t know what to do. How important is it to have somebody who is there to explain things to you, to go with you and help do thing?" said Phillips.
Phillips' organization could be helping 300 to 400 refugees. In all, a total of 1,600 refugees will be accepted in Arizona.
"This is the number that we believe we would have the capacity, given our staffing, given the community, given the housing. This is what we believe we would have the capacity to do," said Phillips.
As of now, the organization has not received anyone just yet. The refugees are going through the vetting process before they arrive, which could take several more weeks.
"No one will come to the community until they have been vetted, until they have their health screenings so they have gone through the initial portion of this before they come into the community"
The organization has received a lot of support in the last couple of weeks, and they are no longer taking volunteers because they are at capacity. However, people can still go to their website and add their name and contact info to the list. They could be reaching out to more volunteers in the future.
Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest
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