Officials say it's too early to tell when or if Ukrainian refugees will be resettled in the Triad, but agencies are still gearing up for an influx of new arrivals from other countries this year.
Last year, World Relief Triad resettled a total of 37 refugees. This year alone, it has worked with nearly 80, the majority of which are from Afghanistan. The jump comes after years of dwindling numbers caused by the Trump administration's decision to accept fewer refugees.
Rob Cassell with World Relief Triad says the organization has the capacity to resettle about 446 refugees this year — still short of the 600 they resettled back in 2016. But he says it's working to rebuild under the Biden administration.
“We are in a very large expansion stage right now, not just with refugee arrivals, but with health and wellness needs, the employment needs, all of these things that come with greater arrivals, and providing care to the community," says Cassell.
Cassell says the biggest challenge right now is finding affordable housing for new arrivals who don't have a credit score or rental history.
“They don't pass a lot of those initial screening requirements," says Cassell. "And so we look for partners, property managers, and apartment complexes to understand the program, understand that all of our clients, all these refugees become less risky tenants over time.”
World Relief is hiring new staff members to help with the process and is continuing to search for both landlords and employers interested in a partnership.