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Afghan refugees are headed to Tucson

How the community is preparing to welcome families
Posted at 9:28 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 16:57:54-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Tucson is preparing to take in hundreds of Afghan refugees and local organizers are asking the public for help. Tucson city councilman Steve Kozachik says Afghan refugees are on their way to Tucson and for some of them it's not the last stop on their journey in the U.S.

"The first group of refugees will be arriving at military bases in the Phoenix area. We know that’s not their final destination, they will end up at other military bases in the refugee resettlement agencies and with next of kin. Right now, it's all over the map,”Kozachik said.

The City of Tucson and other local organizations are preparing to make the transition into American life as smooth as possible. Refugees who enter the states through military transport will only receive a one-time stipend to get by.

"$1,225 it's one time and done. That's for food, clothing, housing, transportation. That won't go far, right now the number one need is for housing,” Kozachik said.

The families are expected to arrive sometime within the next few weeks. Between 300 to 500 of the more than 65,000 refugees headed to the U.S. will land in southern Arizona.

“The groups that are involved right now are Lutheran Social Services, The International Refugee Committee and I’ve gotten the Islamic Center of Tucson involved,” Kozachik said.

Kozachik tells KGUN 9 that some refugees have traveled to the U.S. on their own. Members of Congress are also involved in the process. He also says that people in the area have offered to donate translation services and other goods.

“This is a very vulnerable population, there are language barriers obviously, there are culturally appropriate dietary needs, culturally appropriate clothing," Kozachik said.

If you would like to help you can donate clothing, non-perishable food and toys at Kozachik's Ward 6 headquarters, located at 3202 E. 1st Street. The best time to arrive is Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

"This is going to be a tough lift and we have to make sure we do it right. We don’t want to invite people into our community who have already been traumatized and bring them here and exacerbate that trauma,”Kozachik said.