illinois Digital News

Central Illinois nonprofit helps 3 refugee soldiers from Afghanistan find housing in Bloomington


BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Ilene Henderson, a U.S. Army veteran having served 21 years is a part of Decatur nonprofit Afghan Welcome Home Project of Central Illinois, who recently helped resettle several refugee soldiers from Afghanistan.

Henderson said their nonprofit has been able to secure three of the soldiers’ jobs, and secure housing in Bloomington.

“They’ll be working for a medical manufacturing company, assembling at home Covid test kits,” said Henderson.

Henderson added the other refugees in Decatur are from the same military unit, members of the nonprofit are hoping to find housing for them in Bloomington, but it’s been a challenge because they need to have their own bedrooms.

“Because of human trafficking issues that have been on the rise over the years, there are laws and ordinances and zoning laws in order that prevent that, and so we do need housing, one bed per individual,” said Henderson.

She said there are still several needs for the men in Bloomington, including dental care. She added, they’re also looking for members of the Bloomington community with legal expertise, to help advise these men in their process of obtaining U.S. Visas, so they can become citizens, and bring their immediate families to the country.

She said while these soldiers don’t speak English, they are intelligent men who learn quickly. She hopes the community will give them a chance.

“While I exchanged gunfire with Haqqani and his Taliban organization in 2003, these same gentleman did the same thing many years later, so we have fought, we have sweat, and we have toiled on the same ground, in the same part of the world, for the same reasons,” said Henderson.

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