By Jaylyn Galloway
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
The city of Lansing has become a melting pot of diversity as the community has helped to resettle more than 4,600 refugees in recent years, according to the Community Profile Population Report.
“We have diverse group of refugees each year as between 600 to 650 come to Lansing,” Marissa Nalley, the Community Outreach Coordinator for St. Vincent Catholic Charities said.
A person is a refugee if they flee from their homes from either race, nationality, religion or opinion Nalley said. In the year 2014 the arrival numbers showed the biggest demographics that were coming from Somalia with 144 people, and Iraq with 179, according to St. Vincent’s Arrival Numbers Report.
There are two kinds of cases: one being that the refugee has ties with someone from the United States; the other being free cases, Nalley said.
A free case is where the person has no ties and aid workers help them to establish themselves in the diverse community of Lansing, Nalley said.
The charity provides refugees services including picking up the refugees from the airport, and helps to locate them affordable housing. They enroll kids into school by giving them social security and they get them into classes, Nalley said.
“When refugees arrive in Michigan we help to have medical screenings and employment training services ready with the first 3 months,” Bob Wheaton the Manager of Communications, of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
Aid workers aim to help make refugees more self-sufficient and to become employed, Wheaton said.
“We have a large amount of refugees, but Lansing is a welcoming city,” Wheaton said.
Refugees are adding numbers to schools and filling in jobs that are needed since people are leaving Michigan, Nalley said.
“The refugees don’t have a place to call home, so I don’t think its a bad thing for them to be here, ” Janice Glover, a Lansing resident, said.
“If people are leaving the state we need more people to fill the gaps, it isn’t a negative thing its just filling the holes,” Glover said.