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    More than 1,600 Afghan refugees expected in Michigan by next month


    Detroit — Hundreds of the Afghan refugees who have resettled in Michigan are living in hotels as finding affordable housing and other support has become a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Detroit-based resettlement agency told The Detroit News.

    Michigan is slated to aid 1,603 Afghan refugees, many of whom have been trickling in since October, but are all expected to arrive by Feb. 15. Michigan’s allocation increased from 1,300 the refugees announced in September.

    Refugees will be placed in the care of nonprofit resettlement agencies – 36% in Southeast Michigan, 21% in Grand Rapids, 18% in Ann Arbor, 16% in Lansing and 9% in Kalamazoo. 

    In West Michigan, the Grand Rapids-based Bethany Christian Services said it’s planning to help resettle 250 Afghan allies and refugees and St. Vincent’s Catholic Charities Refugee Services, based in Lansing, will be receiving 300 Afghans.

    Detroit-based Samaritas says 420 of its 550 expected refugees have arrived as of Friday and the majority of those based in Metro Detroit are living in hotels, said Kelli Dobner, Samaritas chief advancement officer. 

    “We have increased since our original commitment and we’ve been asked to do so because the need is so great,” Dobner told The News Friday. “The rate of arrivals has increased dramatically in the last few weeks. We’re averaging about 35 individuals per week.”



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