NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Catholic Charities of Springfield last year committed to help bring 51 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to Northampton. They announced Thursday they’ve selected the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to work on that resettlement process.
USCCB has resettled 30% of all refugees in the U.S. In Northampton, for a 90-day contract, the team will train case managers, regulate administration work, and work directly with refugees.
$105,000 will fund the case-management training and part of the refugees’ rent, but that’s just the start according to Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Executive Director of Catholic Charities in Springfield. “The cost is far more than that,” Buckley-Brawner told 22News. “It does take a lot of intense case management, and a lot of accompanying the refugee families as they arrive here. Everything has to be provided for them again.”
About 15 to 17 refugee families will arrive, each with 1, 2, or 3 children, who the Northampton public schools superintendent says are all welcome to attend a public school as soon as they arrive. 6 Northampton landlords have offered permanent residence for the refugees. Their first year will be subsidized by Catholic Charities.
There’s concern more is being done for refugees than homeless and struggling families in Northampton. Keith Routhier of Easthampton told 22News he understands the concern, yet sympathizes with the refugees. “Charity starts at home,” says Routhier. “You should take care of your own homeless problems before taking care of others, but on the other hand, those people don’t deserve what’s happened to them.”
The first families are expected to arrive in Northampton in the coming weeks, though no official date has been determined.