Local residents get better understanding of the refugee resettlement process

22News found out how many refugees could be headed to Hampden County

SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Two organizations held a meeting Thursday night to answer questions about the refugee resettlement process.

Close to 40 people attended Thursday night’s informational meeting in Southwick. The organizations Welcoming Assistance Refugee Ministry and Ascentria Care Alliance held the event to shed light on the resettlement process.

One of the speakers, Mohammed Najeeb said, “We are part of community and the community is part of us. Trying to always educate or raise awareness to the community, to who is arriving in western Massachusetts, and what are the challenges we face and what are the better understanding we should bring to the table.”

Ascentria plans to resettle 350 refugees in Hampden County this year. Ann Franczyk of West Springfield said, “I think we all have a responsibility to reach out to people in need, all of us. All of our ancestors came to this country to seek a better life, and it’s no different in 2017 than it was in the 1800’s.”

Michael Hennessey of Westfield said he wanted more of a focus on Americans; “First thing that this government needs to do is start taking care of their own. It’s nice to be able to offer a hand, and it’s awful nice to be able to give them some comfort, but we have a lot of people who have done a lot of stuff for this country that are getting the short end of the stick.”

Ascentria said refugees from several countries will be resettled in Westfield, Chicopee, West Springfield and Springfield in 2017.

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