NEW HAVEN--A Connecticut refugee organization says it has helped settle a lot more families this year than in 2015.
According to the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services of New Haven, as of September 14 it had welcomed a record 435 refugees in Connecticut during this fiscal year, which runs October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. An additional 38 are expected over the next two weeks. Of those, 267 come from Syria.
In all, the United States settled about 85,000 refugees from around the world this year, and about 10,000 from Syria.
In Connecticut, other organizations settle refugees besides IRIS, so a total of about 900 were welcomed to the state in the past 12 months.
William Kneerim, with IRIS, spoke to FOX 61 and said that one of the toughest parts of resettling these people is that many are "mid-career professionals, in different fields, who had to start again." However, he said they're hardworkers willing to take any work to survive, including part-time and minimum wage jobs.
IRIS said the reason it was able to settle 100 percent more refugees this year than in fiscal year 2015 is due to the "dramatic" increase in Connecticut residents participating the community co-sponsorship program, in which IRIS partners refugees with locals to help arrange housing, healthcare, education, jobs and other assistance for the refugees. More than 30 groups have participated in the program, and 20 more are training for it.
Learn more about IRIS here.