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Kansas City metro refugee aid groups ready to help possible Ukrainian refugees

KC for Refugees donations
Posted at 3:47 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 20:44:51-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizations that help refugees in the Kansas City area are preparing to offer aid to Ukrainian refugees as Russia continues to invade the country.

"We have relationships with landlords, and so we bring them to a home we have rented and furnished on their behalf, and we begin the services of integration, teaching them everything they need to know to learn how to live in the United States," said Hilary Cohen Singer with Jewish Vocational Services. "We are always prepared to welcome individuals who are fleeing persecution and need to find safe haven."

While JVS is ready for any potential Ukrainian refugees, KC for Refugees is feeling the strain of past conflicts.

"We cannot handle another surge of refugees at this point," said Sofia Khan.

Khan explains KC for Refugees is still helping Afghan refugees who fled after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.

"Although we have the heart to help everybody, we have to look at the reality on the ground," she said. "The people that we are bringing in, we still haven’t settled them."

For Khan, the biggest issues in helping Afghan refugees include stable jobs, transportation and housing.

“We already have a housing crisis going on in our country. Americans themselves cannot find affordable housing," Khan said.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to United Nations, said Wednesday that the Russian invasion into Ukraine could create a new refugee crisis with as many as 5 million people displaced.

Khan says bringing more refugees into the U.S. must be done the right way.

“We cannot just bring them from one stressful situation to another stressful situation. We cannot do that," she said.

Groups like KC for Refugees and Jewish Vocational Service rely on volunteers and accept donations to help refugees.