Arlington, Va. — The Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc. (ECDC) is pleased to have received authorization from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) to begin resettling refugees in Wausau, Wis. The full proposal and budget have not yet been approved, but in a cost extension of its FY21 agreement, PRM has given ECDC approval to move forward with its plans to open its Multicultural Community Center in Wausau. With this approval, ECDC may also include Wausau in its resettlement of Afghans through the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program. Nationwide, from now through March 2022, ECDC plans to resettle 3,100 Afghans through the APA program through its network of 17 resettlement sites.
To prepare for the start of refugee resettlement in Wausau, ECDC maintains regular contact with local and state service providers, is actively recruiting a Director for its Multicultural Community Center, and is raising funds to hire local staff. As soon as staff are in place, ECDC will work with community partners to prepare for and serve the first arrivals, which could be 10 or more individuals before December. Building on this experience, the program plans to receive 75 more individuals from January through September 2022. “ECDC’s proposal to resettle refugees in Wausau has been driven by the community’s interest in welcoming newcomers. We will continue to work closely with community stakeholders to establish the program and welcome the first arrivals,” said Jessica Chapman, ECDC’s Director of Community Engagement. “Our goal is to ensure each family has the support they need to make Wausau their home, and we hope to do that by pairing families with co-sponsorship teams.”
Based in Wausau, Gwendolyn Paul has joined ECDC’s team as a volunteer co-sponsorship coordinator, and she will be working to mobilize co-sponsorship teams in the coming month. Community members may sign up to learn more about ECDC’s co-sponsorship program at https://www.ecdcus.org/community-sponsorship/. Community members interested in learning more about the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and ECDC’s plans to open a local office in Wausau are invited to attend a public education event, scheduled for Thursday, October 7, from 6:00-7:30 PM. The link to register for this virtual event can be found at https://newbeginningswi.org/. New Beginnings is a new, local organization made up of community members who are interested in volunteering their time, mobilizing resources, and educating the public to support the success of ECDC’s refugee resettlement program in Wausau.
ECDC, based in Arlington, Va., is one of the nine national resettlement agencies directly funded by the Department of State. ECDC has been resettling refugees since 1991 and works with a network of affiliate organizations around the country to empower refugees and immigrants to become self-sufficient and integrated members of American society. For more information, visit www.ecdcus.org.