ocal aid organizations and schools say they’re going to be very busy the next couple of months. More refugees than usual are expected to be coming.
As of July, 215 refugees had been resettled in Fargo-West Fargo and Jamestown, 21 in Moorhead and 64 in Grand Forks.
By September 30th, Fargo and West Fargo could increase to 350 new residents and the number in Grand Forks could be bumped to 100.
Jessica Thomasson/CEO, Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, “In an ideal world, it would be spread evenly over the 12 months of that year, but we know that in a lot of years you’ll have ups and downs.”
Jessica Thomasson, the CEO of Lutheran Social Services, says the projections the next couple months are 10 to 20 percent higher than usual in North Dakota. The whole year is about 10 percent higher. She says their organization usually gets about two weeks notice of new arrivals during which they have to set up housing, furnishing and other things to prepare for a new life in a new place.
Thomasson, “A little higher than usual but it’s not uncommon this time of year, so we’ll make sure we’re as organized and working together as a team as we can be because we want those families and their kids to feel welcome and successful.”
Such an increase just before the start of a new school year can also be stressful for school districts. West Fargo School Board member Dave Olson says it can mean a need to hire new staff including language professionals.
Olson, “We’d have to take a look at it. We have a contingency fund that we’ve had to take a look at personnel if we have a large influx, there’s no question.”
Overall, the U.S. plans to resettle 7,500 refugees this month and over 10,000 in September to meet it’s commitment of 70,000 for this fiscal year. Most of the arrivals here in metro will be Bhutanese, Somali, Iraqi and Congolese. About 75 percent have family connections here.