(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The City of Erie is set to receive $100,000 for Afghan immigrants and refugees.
The funding is meant to assist the city with meeting the needs of new immigrants and refugees settling in Erie.
“It is our wonderful diversity that we treasure deeply and are constantly trying to grow,” Mayor Joe Schember said.
Some 65,000 Afghan new arrivals are expected to settle in host communities throughout the United States in coming months, a city news release said. The Open Society Foundations funding is in addition to federal resources.
“Local government leaders are playing a critical role in welcoming Afghans and helping them to settle into new communities,” said Laleh Ispahani, co-director of Open Society-U.S. “We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in welcoming these newcomers. In making this grant and others like it we recognize that partnerships between local government and community groups are essential in building inclusive communities, and contributing to a growing welcoming movement across the country.”
The city also is planning to join with other government leaders to share best practices through the group, Welcoming America. Welcoming America supports communities “building a welcoming society where every person, including immigrants, can fully contribute and shape our shared prosperity,” the news release added.
The American Immigration Council will partner with the efforts as well.
“This grant recognizes the longstanding efforts of the City of Erie to create a welcoming community for all, work that we know will be vital to not only supporting new Afghan neighbors but to strengthening our collective response to the displacement of people across the globe, and our ability to ensure that everyone can belong and thrive in the place we call home, no matter where we come from,” said Rachel Peric, executive director of Welcoming America.
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The funds will cover “immediate needs,” such as housing, transportation and legal services, the news release noted.