Syrian family looks forward to planting roots in Kansas City with help of Della Lamb

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first Syrian family who resettled under an accelerated refugee program is in Kansas City, and Della Lamb Community Services is taking care of them for now. But the help runs out eventually.

Ahmad Al-Abboud, 45, his wife and five children had been living in Jordan as refugees for the last three years.

The family arrived in Kansas City Thursday night and were greeted by social service workers and other Syrian immigrants who will help them begin their new lives.

Kansas City has successfully welcomed thousands of refugees and other immigrants over the years and placed them in affordable housing in the northeast neighborhood, where they often encounter other resettled families who are making the most of the American dream.

“It`s far more emotionally-charged than it might be under other circumstances,” Judy Akers with Della Lamb Community Services said.  "The family arrives they are exhausted. They don`t speak English in many cases. We are working through translation. We`re trying to assure them that America is the place of safety that they believed and hoped and prayed for."

In addition to housing, Della Lamb will help the family learn English, and provide child care, when the adults find work. The agency has a job placement rate of 84 percent for those it serves.

There's funding for housing for the first 90 days, after that the family is expected to be able to pay for their home by themselves. That's what makes housing in the northeast attractive for refugees, the rents typically are more affordable and the neighborhood is safe.