Lutheran Social Services works with Afghan refugees to find permanent housing in Southern Wisconsin

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:03 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2021 at 6:19 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Refugees from Afghanistan housed on military bases like Fort McCoy are finding permanent housing in Wisconsin. Lutheran Social Services is helping find homes in Southern Wisconsin for refugees that have lived in temporary housing in the U.S since August.

LSS is committing to help at least 100 refugees. The group is finding housing, jobs, schools and other essentials for the refugees to start their new lives in America. Mary Flynn, a program manager at LSS, says the organization could help 200 or more refugees depending on the number of co-sponsors signing up to help place the refugees.

Co-sponsors are organizations, groups or churches working with LSS to help furnish the new home, act as a guide to the new community and provide a support system for the refugees coming to their area.

It is a way of helping resettle families and new members to a community tested by time and success.

“It is a very time-honored way of assisting newcomers to the United States going back to World War Two,” said Flynn. “Many congregations in the United States reached out and did this work; in 1974, it became more formal and became what we know it as now as refugee resettlement.”

The refugees are coming to Wisconsin from bases around the country, including Fort McCoy.

As they move off the bases and into new homes, Flynn says that the biggest challenge isn’t a language barrier; it is the social differences in the U.S.

“The United States is a very individualistic society, and it’s actually very isolating in some ways,” said Flynn. “Afghans and refugees always teach us about what we’re missing in the United States in terms of community and extended social networks and extended households.”

She added that co-sponsors also offer a social group to help give refugees that feeling of community right away in their new homes.

To sign up for the co-sponsor program, go to the LSS website and find the form under the refugee resettlement page.

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