NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Dozens of refugees will soon call western Massachusetts home, and 22News has learned they may not all be from Syria.
51 Syrian refugees are expected to resettle in Northampton by next October. They won’t all come at once. Instead, families will trickle in, one or two at a time over the next year.
Once they get here, they’ll each receive a one-time federal stipend of more than $1,000.
The Catholic Charities Agency is the organization who will be helping these refugees through that process. The executive director of that agency told 22News they also hope to help African refugees from Burundi and the Congo resettle in western Massachusetts.
The refugees from both Syria, and Africa are escaping similar circumstances. Earlier this week, UN investigators published a report that claims Burundi’s government is behind human rights abuses, including torture and executions. Refugees have also been leaving the Congo, following deadly political protests.
The Catholic Charities Agency hasn’t said when those refugees would come, or how many would come, if they do.
However, the Springfield-based agency will be holding a meeting at the Senior Center in Northampton Thursday afternoon, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., to discuss the resettlement of the 51 Syrian refugees in detail. The senior center is located at 67 Conz Street in Northampton.
The city of Pittsfield is also considering whether to take in Syrian refugees. They’ll be holding a public meeting at 6:00PM on Monday, at the Berkshire Athenaeum on Wendell Avenue.
Massachusetts isn’t the only state taking in refugees from Syria over the next year.
The Obama administration has said that up to 110,000 refugees are expected to resettle in the United States by the end of fiscal year 2017.