The United States is expected to allow up to 100,000 Ukrainian war refugees to enter the country.  And the grassroots Otsego Refugee Resettlement Coalition is laying the groundwork to welcome them and provide services.

“The Resettlement Coalition and the Community Foundation of Otsego County is trying to get as much of the background work done as possible,” Jeff Katz, Community Foundation executive director, said in a CNY News interview. “If people do come here we want to be prepared.”

Resettling refugees can be complicated. They often arrive in a community with little or no money, no friends or family, and speak a foreign language.

“We’re looking to provide services like housing, food, and ways to [acclimate] to a new culture,” Katz said. “The Ukrainian situation is terrible. Where we can help is trying to find housing if people do make their way to the county.”

The Otsego County groups are working with an established refugee resettlement organization based in Utica.  If any Ukrainian refugees do arrive in our region, they will be resettled through a federal program under the auspices of The Center in Utica. The Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides cash assistance to refugees for up to one year.

“It is a big lift because we don’t have much experience [in circumstances like this],” Katz said. “But it is a worthy goal.”

Volunteers can email contact@cfotsego.org, and donations can be made at cfotsego.org/donate-pledge/.

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