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Afghan refugees arrive in Lewiston as state agencies help with housing, jobs

Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services will sponsor 50-100 of them.

LEWISTON, Maine — Afghan refugees are arriving in the Lewiston area, and Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services said it will sponsor 50-100 of them.

"We have been there. We've been through the same process they are going through, and we just want to help them," Rilwan Osman, executive director of Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services, said. 

Osman said most of the refugees worked for the U.S. government in Afghanistan. He said once they arrive in Lewiston, the agency will help them find a place to live and help them find work.

Catholic Charities of Maine said it's already helped resettle 74 Afghan refugees in the Greater Portland area. It said the biggest challenge is finding them housing.

"That's honestly the hardest part of our work at this point. The job market is quite strong here, and a lot of these folks are coming with some English skills, and that part is easier. However, it's hard to find a long-term job when you aren't settled in long-term housing yet," Hannah DeAngelis, director of refugee and immigration services at Catholic Charities of Maine, said

Meanwhile, Osman said he's thankful the community stepped up to help donate essential items they need. He said if people want to donate, to visit their website here.

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