First family of Afghan refugees has arrived in Kansas City, Mayor Quinton Lucas says

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Mayor Quinton Lucas announced Friday morning that the first family of Afghan refugees arrived in Kansas City on Thursday night.

In a message posted to Twitter, Lucas said the family represented the first of 550 Afghan refugees who will arrive in Kansas City.

“I am proud of Kansas City’s commitment to welcoming all people,” Lucas wrote. “That includes refugees from regions near and far.”

This week, the Biden administration began notifying states about how many Afghan refugees would be resettled among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals, according to the Associated Press. Missouri will receive 1,200 refugees and Kansas will receive 490, the AP reported.

Late in August, Kansas City area refugee resettlement agencies submitted a proposal to the State Department that said the agencies have the capacity to welcome 625 Afghan evacuees. The number is based on an assessment of capacity by the three area resettlement agencies designated by the State Department: Della Lamb Community Center, Jewish Vocational Services and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.

The 625 number represents the capacity for the entire Kansas City metropolitan area, Ryan Hudnall, the executive director of Della Lamb said in an email. The 550 represents the capacity for Della Lamb and Jewish Vocational Services, Hudnall said. Della Lamb is expected to receive 250 refugees and Jewish Vocational Services expects 300.

“Together, Della Lamb Community Services and Jewish Vocational Services informed the governor’s office that at this time they, on behalf of Kansas City, can help resettle 550 Afghans — meaning assistance with housing, school enrollment, healthcare, job placement, clothing, furnishings, and more,” said Lucas’ spokesperson, Morgan Said, in an email.

The federal government will also provide a one-time $1,000 stipend to Afghan families resettling in cities across the country, Said added.

“We are a generous community, and I appreciate the many who have reached out to help,” Lucas said in a following tweet.

In August, Lucas said that Afghan refugees would arrive in Kansas City and that the city had started taking steps to welcome refugees. Lucas provided links to Della Lamb and to Jewish Vocational Services if any community members would like to assist in the arrival of Afghan refugees.

The Star’s Farrah Mina contributed to this report.

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