New Haven non-profit IRIS helps refugees build new lives in CT

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — More than 1,000 refugees are expected in Connecticut. A New Haven non-profit is trying to help them build new lives here in the state.

Ann O’Brien is the Director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, better known as IRIS. She says her goal is to get co-sponsors — volunteers to help refugees acclimate in the state.

IRIS trains these local groups to help refugees find things like jobs, doctors, housing, friends and schooling.

News 8 spoke to O’Brien and co-sponsor Laura Noe from Branford who are trying to house and take care of as many refugees as possible.

“A lot of people are quick to write a check, a lot of people have stepped forward with stuff…” Noe said. “But what we’re struggling with in all honesty is having people raise their hand and take ownership of some of these committees.”

“The first thing I’m saying and I know not everybody wants to hear it is we need financial donations because we need to be able to pivot… it’s only because of the outpouring of support in August that we were able to lease apartments proactively so that the families we got in August, we could get,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien also said not to drop off clothes at their sites. Instead, visit their website for a list of things you can do to help.

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