The first 17 of around 200 expected refugees from Afghanistan have arrived in Sioux City.
The director of the Mary Treglia House of Sioux City, Becky Carlson, says there are some unique challenges for this group of immigrants. “The folks that we’ve resettled in the past have had someone here in the community that kind of helps set house up and has that already established,” Carlson explains. “Where these folks have no one to do that with — working to make sure that their house is set up — and then making sure that we get them to their appointments that they need to be at and that sort of stuff.”
Carlson says many of the first arrivals do speak some English, which helps in communicating their needs. “I’ve spent probably a whole afternoon with the family and there was one who could help with the conversations. And can definitely read and write in English. We did have one who has been a student up in Orange City — and she has agreed to help interpret,” Carlson says.
Local churches have helped the agency set up housing. She says they have set up apartments and Sunnybrook Church, and the Church of the Latter Day Saints have helped furnish the apartments. Lutheran Social Services will be assisting with another 150 or so refugees locating in the Sioux City area as well as 300 in Des Moines and 75 in rural Iowa locations.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)