51 Syrian refugees slated to relocate to Northampton

The federal government will provide a one time stipend of $1,125 for each refugee

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, Syrian refugees inside the border wait to be approved to get into Jordan, in the Hadalat reception area, near the northeastern Jordanian border with Syria, and Iraq, near the town of Ruwaished, Jordan. The Senate will consider new rigorous screening procedures for Syrian and Iraqi refugees seeking to enter the United States as national security looms large for voters in an election year. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP)- Fifty-one Syrian refugees are slated to be relocated to the city of Northampton.

Close to 200 Northampton residents packed a special meeting at the JFK Middle School Monday night to learn about the plans. The Springfield-based Catholic Charities Agency will be helping the refugees resettle.

The Catholic Charities Agency initially wanted to resettle the Syrian refugees to Northampton in October, but the city is asking that they reschedule that resettlement to either December or January so they have more time to plan. The Catholic Charities Agency said it will most likely be at a later date with government contracts for resettlement coming out in October.

Northampton City Councilor Alisa Klein told 22News volunteers are needed to help find affordable housing, jobs and making the transition, “We are looking for people for general volunteer tasks. Things like transportation, helping people to acclimate taking them to learn how to navigate a grocery store. Some of the refugees that will be coming have lived their entire lives in refugee camps and never have ever been in a grocery store.”

The federal government will provide a one time stipend of $1,125 for each refugee. They’re not eligible for section 8 housing so they must get into apartments.

Frances Paine, of Northampton said, “If it was reversed and I needed the help I certainly would appreciate someone to reach out to me.”

Not all the refugees will come at once. One or two families will come at a time, until all 51 have resettled by October 2017.

A total of 85 Syrian refugees were resettled in Massachusetts in fiscal 2015 About 40 in Hampden County.

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