Refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan to be served by new organization from Crain’s Detroit

April 20, 2022


A new coalition is working to settle more than 250 refugees from war-torn regions like Afghanistan and Ukraine in Detroit.

The Detroit Refugee Network, spearheaded by Samaritas — which is serving as the fiduciary — is seeking $1.125 million in additional funding as it works to help refugees with things like housing, education, transportation, English as a second language classes, employment and other services, the Detroit-based nonprofit announced Wednesday.

It is co-chaired by Kelli Dobner, Samaritas’ chief advancement officer, and Dr. Sonia Hassan, a Wayne State University-affiliated OB-GYN and the wife of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

The need for services and funding is growing. Federal policy shifts in the Biden administration have allowed an increased number of refugees to come to the U.S., requiring resettlement agencies to hire more people in recent months.

The Detroit Refugee Network will work with Samaritas, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants — which is based in suburban Washington, D.C., but has a field office in Detroit — and Southfield-based Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan.

Combined, those groups have helped settle more than 650 refugees from Afghanistan in the region since last year, when the Taliban regained control of the country.

The group also expects to help refugees from the Ukraine in the coming weeks.

“We also know that refugees from Ukraine are expected to come into our care in the coming weeks and months, and the Detroit Refugee Network will play a key role in combining support, services and resources to ensure their safety and resettlement,” Dobner said during a news conference Wednesday in Detroit announcing the organization’s formation.

Crain’s Detroit

Refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan to be served by new organization from Crain’s Detroit
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