In a first-of-its-kind arrangement for a public university, the University of Maryland will temporarily house Afghan refugees on its College Park campus.
Under a partnership with the International Rescue Committee, Afghan families evacuated through Operation Allies Welcome, as well as special immigrant visa holders, will live on the campus for up to a year while IRC helps them find permanent housing. It will also help them find employment, education, counseling and other social services.
“Public education is really about public good,” said Patty Perillo, the university’s vice president for student affairs, in a statement Tuesday. “We are creating the model here at Maryland. We are developing the structure and systems for others to carry forward, helping many more refugees in need.”
According to the university, the families underwent extensive government processing, including background checks and medical screenings.
IRC is a nonprofit that serves people impacted by humanitarian crises, helping them recover and rebuild their lives.
The families will arrive on campus over the next several weeks, the university said.
“We are grateful for University of Maryland’s welcome of Afghan evacuees, which is reflective of our state’s broader welcoming spirit,” said Ruben Chandrasekar, IRC’s executive director in Maryland.
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