Lutheran Social Services assisting refugees through resettlement program

Local News

Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Fort McCoy is serving as a temporary host for refugees from Afghanistan, who will soon be spread out into communities across the country.

First News at Nine’s Alex Loroff tells us how one organization is helping resettlement efforts in Wisconsin.

More than 8,000 Afghan refugees are at Fort McCoy, but now the question is, where will they be going next?

Organizations such as Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan (LSS) are currently developing plans for resettlement.

LSS President and CEO Hector Colon says the large number of refugees that need help is causing the organization to create as robust a strategy as possible.

“We are going to have to be called to serve lots of people, so it is different in that we’re going to have to develop an infrastructure quickly in terms of staff and interpreters and all those things that are necessary to effectively resettle these individuals,” Colon explained.

LSS has helped to settle more than 10,000 refugees across Wisconsin since 1974 through its Refugee Resettlement program.

To assist the program, LSS is putting out a call to the public to contribute donations in an effort to help the refugees establish their new lives.

“Many of them [refugees] will come without visas, which means they might not be eligible just yet to receive some of the resources that are normally available to refugees,” Colon said. “That’s where we’re trying to fundraise to make sure that individuals have enough money for rent, clothing, food, at least for a period of time until they get their visas and are truly integrated into society.”

Colon says LSS has raised more than $75,000 in donations so far.

LSS plans to continue building a base of resources through donations to provide immediate assistance when the resettlement process begins.

At Fort Mccoy, Alex Loroff, First News at Nine

Colon adds he isn’t sure when resettlement will start, but LSS will step in once individuals are referred by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services.

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