St. Louis Braces For Surge In Immigrant Arrivals, Calls For Community Action | Old North State Wealth News
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St. Louis braces for surge in immigrant arrivals, calls for community action

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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis region will soon welcome its highest number of immigrants and refugees in decades this year.

The International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL) is expecting to resettle around 2,500 new arrivals this year.

Civic leaders say this would be the largest yearly influx of immigrants and refugees since the growth of the Bosnian community in the 1990s. It would also mark the third straight year with an influx of at least 1,400 people.

Trends have prompted some urgent calls to action from community leaders. The IISTL says there is a notable need for donations and volunteers to help with integration efforts.

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“We are excited to see the robust numbers in our immigrant community,” Arrey Obenson, IISTL president and CEO, said during a news conference Tuesday. “The positive impact our foreign-born population has on the region is well documented, but our resettlement efforts require significant resources. We are issuing a call for volunteers and financial donations.”

According to IISTL, federal funding will not cover expenses for this year’s influx, partly due to rising costs and inflation. IISTL ensures that new arrivals have housing by covering security deposits and rent for three months.

The organization seeks financial contributions to help support housing, transportation, and other necessities for new arrivals. The funding gap can be as high as $4,300 for a single person or around $3,500 for a family of three.

“Money is obviously important, but we could not accomplish our goals without the dedicated volunteers that work every day to make things happen,” Obensen said.

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Last year, IISTL had nearly 1,000 volunteers contribute around 11,500 hours of service time. Volunteers are needed in educational, economic, youth and resettlement programs.

IISTL says community partnerships also aim to strengthen support networks for new arrivals. Affinia Healthcare works with many foreign-born clients to provide culturally-supportive healthcare services.

“We pride ourselves on caring for everyone that walks through our doors, but the increasing
number of new arrivals demands a collective effort from the medical community,” Dr. Kendra Holmes, Affinia Healthcare president and CEO, said. “This call to action includes the healthcare community because a health screening is a vital service for new arrivals as they make a home in St. Louis.”

For more information on opportunities to donate and volunteer through IISTL, click here.

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