Lawmakers and members of the public met in Concord today to learn more about refugee resettlement efforts in New Hampshire. The breakfast gathering was organized by Lutheran Social Services, a non-profit that offers new refugees a range of services including short-term housing and English-language training.
Steve Duprey, a prominent real estate developer, helped launch a work-skills program in conjunction with Lutheran Social Services for new arrivals. He says it is one of the best moves he’s made in business.
“I’m now out there as an advocate to other businesses to hire these folks who are new to our country, because let me tell you, they are not looking for a handout. They are looking for an opportunity.”
In recent years, the mayors of both Manchester and Nashua have expressed concern about the pressure new groups put on city resources.
Amy Marchildon with LSS says that opposition is fading.
"I know from our work in the past 10 years we have had an incredible welcome and reception from the local communities. We have had an outpouring of support from volunteers and faith communities and community groups who completely welcome and engage refugees."
Approximately 7,000 refugees have resettled in New Hampshire in the past 15 years. Many have fled war-torn nations including Bosnia, Somalia and Bhutan.