SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — InterFaith Works of Central New York received nearly a quarter of a million dollars from U.S. Congress to help build a new welcoming home for refugees.

What makes this home so special? It’ll be a transition home for refugees specifically with special needs or physical impairments.

Marwah Alobaidi was once a refugee who fled Iraq 15 years ago. She’s now in charge of refugee resettlement services at InterFaith Works, a program helping New Americans start their next chapter in Central New York.

“It means a lot when you do this work and you get to be in the same seat as the family and you know how the family feels about that and what are their needs.”


To meet the growing needs of the refugee community, former Congressman John Katko (R) was at the forefront of awarding InterFaith Works a total of $248,000 for the new refugee home. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) also played a role.

“This is a huge benefit to the families that are coming and to our agency, which works very hard to make sure everything is ready for them when they get here. There are a lot of needs that will be met by this house. One of them will be the fact that when they arrive, sometimes we don’t know that they have certain physical or handicapping conditions that will prevent them from being in a house with stairs.”


The home will be handicapped accessible and house a handful of refugees and eventually their families.

“It took a lot for them to be able to be here, so the community plays a big part in integrating our refugees,” Alobaidi said. “Supporting them will mean a lot to them and will help them.”

InterFaith Works is still house hunting but the refugee transition home will be on the northside of Syracuse. The goal is to have the home completely renovated by the end of the year.

On top of the funding from Congress, Bank of America donated $50,000 to InterFaith Works for the home and Plymouth Church in Syracuse awarding $25,000.

You can learn more or donate to InterFaith Works’ refugee services by clicking here.