Refugee resettlement organizations in Syracuse preparing to take in Afghan refugees

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR)- The attacks in Afghanistan are affecting people thousands of miles away, including refugee families in Syracuse. Local organizations are preparing for the possibility of welcoming more refugees.

Catholic Charities and Interfaith works both said there are families in the area that have resettled, who have lived in Afghanistan. The Vice President of Interfaith Works this situation has been rough.  

“It’s been a really, really challenging the last week or so,” said Vice President of Interfaith Works Olive Sephuma.

There is a national program underway called the “Afghan Parolees Support Program” that is meant to help about 50,000 Afghans to exit the country. Felicia Castricone of Catholic Charities said they’ve already been thinking about what to do.

“We would be resettling people through this program, but the rules are a little bit different in that they aren’t eligible for all the things that refugees are typically eligible for in terms of programming and financial support so again it’s all evolving,” Castricone said.

Castricone said they’ve welcomed 20 to 25 Afghan refugees in about a month. The organization these individuals came from Turkey and special immigrant visa holders right from Afghanistan.

Both organizations understand the urgency, and say they’re prepared for the refugees once they arrive in Central New York. For now, they’re doing what they can.

“We’re trying everything we can to identify people and find out how we might refer them to this new program, as well as to the other existing programs, and see if they qualify,” said Castricone.

Castricone and Sephuma said many have asked about how to donate. They say the best best to learn how is to call. Catholic Charities can be reached at (315) 424-1800 and the number for Interfaithworks is (315) 449- 3552.

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