Connecticut officials create task force to help Afghan refugees moving to the state
Connecticut is preparing to take in at least 300 refugees from Afghanistan by creating a new task force to help them adjust.
Gov. Ned Lamont says the state is getting 310 refugees over the next few weeks, although that number could grow. The first families could arrive next week.
Two private agencies will find apartments for arriving families and help them find jobs.
"We're looking for landlords that have safe and affordable housing. We're looking for tutors for our children, and employers willing to hire our clients," Susan Schnitzer, of the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.
"You've all heard about how difficult it is to find housing in Connecticut, and it really is true. Plus, there are federal guidelines for limits of rent," says Bishop Andrew Smith, of the Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services.
The state is making sure they have access to doctors and schools.
"The Department of Public Health - we have a health coordinator for refugees and asylees who will be working with our re-settlement agencies," says Acting Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford.
Alex Plitsas, of Fairfield, helped rescue dozens of Afghan families - as a former soldier and intelligence officer, he says America owes them.
"My life was saved on more than one occasion by an Afghan who chose to come out and help interpret for me when I'm doing intelligence work," he says.
As frightened families find a new life in a new land, Connecticut is rolling out the red carpet.