Reflecting on one year of the Welcome Corps and the future of refugee resettlement

It’s estimated that Minnesota has welcomed more than 100,000 refugees since the 1970s. From 1980 to the present that work has largely been done by resettlement agencies.

Last year today, President Joe Biden initiated a new sponsorship program called “Welcome Corps” that allows everyday people to sponsor individuals seeking refuge in the U.S.

So far, Minnesota leads the nation in people signing up for the program — taking in nearly 100 refugees this past year.

Stephanie Koehne is a private sponsorship leader from Alight, a humanitarian and disaster relief organization in Minneapolis. They’ve been working with sponsor groups including the Nokomis Welcome Group from the Nokomis Square Cooperative Senior Living Community.

Cynthia Devereaux is a part of that group and she’s sponsoring a family from Somalia. Koehne and Devereaux reflected on what the program has meant to them.

To hear the full conversation, click play on the audio player above.

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