NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — When refugees flee their country, one of the first stops they make when they arrive in the greater New Haven area is Iris.
The refugee resettlement agency welcomes Senator Chris Murphy’s call for more refugees from Syria to come to the U.S.
“Before they arrive, we have to find an apartment,” says executive director Chris George. “We furnish it with donated furniture. We stock it with food.”
George says Iris literally picks up the refugees at the airport.
The first night someone cooks them a hot meal and the next day they go to the agency’s New Haven offices.
Iris helps 230 refugees each year and is hoping the country answers Senator Murphy’s call to welcome 50,000 refugees from Syria as they flee their troubled homeland.
“350 refugee resettlement agencies,” says George. “For us it would mean another 50. We can handle that.”
A Syrian refugee News8 met at the agency spoke only if we didn’t show his face.
“He came here to the U.S. because of the war in Syria and he want to protect his family,” says a woman translating for him.
The father of four fears for his family’s safety and hopes his children will now be able to go to school, which was shut down in Syria.
“He’s so good and psychologically he feels very good. Him and his family,” says the translator.
“Remember a refugee is not just someone who says ‘I want a better job in another country’,” says George. “Someone who is running for their life. They are fleeing persecution.”
News8 also met little Jacques Riziki and his mom.
Chabusiku Riziki is a refugee form the Congo. She is now in the U.S. with Jacques and her seven other children.
“Yes Iris help me. Today, I speak english,” says Riziki.
So where does this non-profit get its funding?
Sixty percent comes from the government and 40 forty percent is from private donations of which it says it can always use more.