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Afghanistan refugees coming to the Appleton area, face housing shortage

Decades of similar work with refugees has helped the Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest...
Decades of similar work with refugees has helped the Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest prepare for people flooding in from Afghanistan.(kold)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:18 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:19 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Preparations are underway right now in the Fox Valley for the arrival of 100 Afghanistan refugees over the next several months.

Housing is already a concern, and on Wednesday Appleton’s Community and Economic Development Committee took up a resolution to ensure it’s a priority to find those families a home.

“This resolution does have a call to action that I think is important,” said City Alder Vered Meltzer.

The resolution is directing city officials to “offer any additional assistance it can to facilitate rapid response housing options.”

World Relief Fox Valley Director Tami McLaughlin said, “Part of the challenge is housing, and I think almost every community in the United States is facing this, just affordable housing. A lot of times it has to be available with a week or two weeks’ notice. That makes it more complicated.”

One hundred refugees are expected to resettle in the Appleton area before next spring, and city officials say they will need help from area landlords.

So far, McLaughlin has already had offers of jobs and financial assistance to those coming. “We cannot keep up with the calls and emails. We are humbled by this generosity,” she added.

While the resolution did unanimously pass the committee, one member expressed concerns over the wording.

“I think it is not appropriate for us to say at the end let’s trump everything else in the city’s budget to do it, and I think it could be implied that way,” said Alder Kristin Alfheim.

Meltzer responded, “I think that a resolution solidifies something so that it’s not just a passing flavor of the day.”

The resolution now goes before the full city council for a vote.

The council is expected to take it up next week.

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