Gov. Cox discusses resettlement of Afghan refugees in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Yesterday Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox initiated “Afghan Day on the Hill” by announcing that roughly all of the 900 Afghan refugees assigned to Utah have arrived. He then called upon the citizens of Utah to help locate long-term living arrangements for the remaining 220 individuals which would require about 50 units.

“We recognize the housing challenges being felt throughout the state,” Gov. Cox said. “We also know that having a safe and secure place to live is a critical need for Afghans building a new life in Utah. Our goal is to have everyone housed by the end of March.” 

With phase one of the biggest resettlement effort in the state’s history now complete, phase two will commence and focus on the education, training and employment of the refugees. The resettlement agencies and state Refugees Services Offices are also collaborating to provide homework assistance and mentoring for the families and their children. Additionally, laptops and cellphones have already been distributed from the $1 million raise from the Utah Afghan Community Fund.

“The Afghans now in Utah were critical allies to the U.S. government in Afghanistan and they bring a host of talents, abilities and life experience to our labor force,” said Gov. Cox. “They arrived in Utah with permission to work and we are helping them secure good jobs. They will be a wonderful addition in filling much needed vacancies in the state.”

As it stands, they’re currently several bills making their way through the legislature in order to support the refugees. This includes H.B. 163 which would provide access to translators in order to help them obtain a driver’s license and further their opportunities for employment and transportation.

According to the Office of the Governor: “Initial estimates for Afghan arrivals increased to just over 900 due to case size fluctuation (the number of people arriving in a group), people with connections to Utah choosing to resettle here and walk-ins who make their way to Utah on their own. Gov. Cox urged anyone with housing availability to send a message to refugeehousing@utah.gov.” 

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