University of Maryland temporarily housing Afghan refugees
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland (UMD) is stepping in to help Afghan refugees, but the school's generosity is attracting mixed reactions from students.
The effort to help resettle some of these refugees is the first of its kind for a public university, according to UMD.
As of this week, three families have already moved on to campus.
The plan for the school is to temporarily house more than two dozen Afghan refugees on its College Park campus.
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The families, most with more than six members were evacuated through Operation Allies Welcome and previously served in roles alongside U.S. personnel.
"They get to live on campus for a year. They have identifications like campus IDs that can allow them to ride the campus shuttle, full use of various university facilities," said Ruben Chandrasekar, the Maryland Executive Director for the International Rescue Committee.
Families will live in one of the six apartments provided on campus but the International Rescue Committee says the long-term goal is to help these refugees secure permanent housing and jobs.
"In the first three to four months it is federal funds that help keep them afloat but after, it is usually the refugee paying their bills after finding a job in the community," Chandrasekar explained.
The move to house these refugees by the university has people on social media talking.
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Some are voicing concerns over a lack of housing on UMD’s campus, including one person on Reddit who says their daughter was unable to get an on-campus apartment for next year due to limited spots available.
Some students are also voicing their concerns. "In some ways, it’s just kind of out of nowhere that UMD decides to do it," said Nick Gresh, a student at UMD.
"I know that there are many students that try to get on-campus housing, and they are unable to and there is like a lot of demand on that kind of housing," said another UMD pupil.
"I know that there’s a lot of disagreements that people still here in America are looking for housing at UMD," said Tiruu Leyew, a junior. "I feel like they can get better opportunities anywhere else especially since these kids are coming from somewhere else less fortunate."
FOX 5 reached out to the University of Maryland for comment, but we have not yet heard back.