ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Refugees from Afghanistan are starting to make their way into Albuquerque. The city is expecting to take in more than 200 of them eventually. City leaders say refugees will continue to arrive sporadically throughout the next six months.
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Albuquerque is working with Lutheran Family Services and other groups to help resettle the evacuees. “We are a friendly and welcoming city for immigrants and refugees so if we really want to be part of and follow that path we have to really make things available,” explains Beatriz Valencia, the city’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee affairs liaison.
People started coming to Albuquerque just last week. Right now, it’s estimated that fewer than 10 refugees have arrived so far. Afghan refugees — many of them who worked with the U.S. during the war — have been staying at Holloman Air Force Base for weeks. The city expects at least 200 of them to wind up in Albuquerque.
Lutheran Family Services is the group that first helps them find housing in places like apartment complexes. But with a tight affordable housing market, city leaders say they’re looking for help.
“We need the collaboration of landlords. That’s something we are looking for, that they would allow to have to rent to refugees and in that way they probably don’t want to be just in one place in the city but probably all around the city,” Valencia said.
The city is also working with other agencies to help them find jobs., health care, schools and English classes. The city’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs has a list of the organizations they are working with posted on its website. Afghan refugees will also be sent to other parts of the state like Las Cruces and Santa Fe.