Fort Wayne rolls out welcome mat to 60 Afghan refugees

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Months after thousands of Afghan refugees first arrived to Indiana, Catholic Charities gave an update about how its helping some of these evacuees resettle to the Fort Wayne area, through the city’s Afghan Resettlement program.

“We walk alongside those we serve on their unique journey to self-sufficiency, helping them overcome barriers along the way,” said Dan Florin, the Interim CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in the press conference’s opening remarks.

Florin said Catholic Charities is committed to resettling 75 individuals. So far, 60 have been resettled in Fort Wayne.

The city’s Refugee Resettlement program says its goal is to ensure refugees are economically self-sufficient within their first three to six months of arrival. Once a refugee arrives to Fort Wayne, that individual is picked up by a case manager and is given a secure place to stay. However, Florin said the housing shortage has “hindered the program’s ability to quickly find affordable housing.”

Within the first month of being in Fort Wayne, refugees are immersed in activities such as an English as a Second Language (ESL) class, cultural orientation programs and job development programs. Transportation to health appointments is also provided.

Florin was joined at the press conference by Mayor Tom Henry as well as other community members who shared insights into how the community will work together to welcome refugee families and address questions regarding the resettlement process.

“The welcome mat is open for those who want to call Fort Wayne their home,” said Mayor Henry.

Anyone interested in helping is encouraged to look into the Sponsor Circle Program, which allows groups of at least five people to sponsor Afghan refugees.

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