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Refugee Education Center in Grand Rapids awarded $50,000 to welcome Afghan neighbors

An Afghan refugee stands outside temporary housing at Fort McCoy.
An Afghan refugee stands outside temporary housing at Fort McCoy.

A West Michigan refugee center has been awarded $50,000 additional funds to welcome Afghan neighbors in the area.

When news broke that thousands of Afghan refugees would be welcomed into the US, following the Taliban’s takeover, refugee centers across the nation stepped up.

“We are right now as busy as we’ve been in the past five years,” Grand Rapids Refugee Education Center worker Nikki Dunn said. “Incredibly quickly. I think every organization in west Michigan had to really start thinking as soon as news came out of obviously the circumstances in Afghanistan…we immediately started receiving response from community members."

But thanks to a new $50,000 grant they’ve quickly expanded, juggling traditional refugee resettlement *and* incoming Afghan neighbors, who are on the search for housing.

The Refugee Education Center is one of just 12 organizations across the country to receive grants from The Welcome Fund, a philanthropic group focused on supporting Afghan arrivals. Dunn says the money will be given directly to housing efforts.