Housing discussions for 51 refugees slated to resettle in Northampton

22News explains how Northampton is preparing and how you can help

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 refugees from Syria, Burundi, or the Congo are slated to resettle in Northampton by January 2017. They’ve already been vetted by the government for refugee status.

Susan Costello, of Northampton said, “I’m for it if they can find a building or make some houses for them.”

The Catholic Charities of Springfield is the agency handling the case management. Northampton Housing Planner Peg Keller told 22News one of the major challenges being faced is finding homes for the 10 families to live in.

The federal government provides a one time stipend of $1,125 for each refugee. They’re not eligible for section 8 housing so they must get into apartments or some other type of housing. They will have enough money for maybe three months rent, before the adults must find a job to start paying. The hope is that residents will volunteer space in their own homes, but there are some who are skeptical of the plan.

“We have a lot of homeless people here now that we’re not taking care of. Veterans and stuff like that. I mean where are we going to put them, where are we going to give them jobs,” Michael Lapan, of Holyoke said.

A housing information session for the refugee resettlement is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Monday evening at City Hall, Room 18. The meeting next Monday will go over requirements for housing and discussing options.

Related Refugee Coverage: