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Connecticut groups say Afghan refugees need affordable housing

Cassandra Basler
WSHU Public Radio

Resettlement agencies in Connecticut say they’re facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, and it’s a struggle to find them affordable housing.

One resettlement agency in the state is Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, or IRIS. Chris George, the executive director, said the nationwide affordable housing shortage is especially bad for refugees.

“IRIS will stand behind these refugees, even though they don’t have a credit history, even though they might not speak English,” George said. “We will guarantee the landlord that they will pay the rent and be fine tenants.”

The agency helps refugees find permanent housing, co-signs their leases and furnishes their apartments.

George said IRIS expects to take on about four times more refugees than normal, mostly from Afghanistan, after the fall of the country to the Taliban. He said the agency only gets a few days’ notice when new refugees arrive, as opposed to a few weeks, making it a rush to find housing.

George said residents can form community groups and register with IRIS to help welcome Afghan families and support them as they find jobs and homes.

Copyright 2021 WSHU. To see more, visit WSHU.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He fell in love with sound-rich radio storytelling while working as an assistant reporter at KBIA public radio in Columbia, Missouri. Before coming back to radio, he worked in digital journalism as the editor of Newtown Patch. As a freelance reporter, his work for WSHU aired nationally on NPR. Davis is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism; he started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.

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