Jacksonville-area refugee organization monitors situation in Ukraine

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JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Tens of thousands of Ukrainians are scrambling to find new homes as Russia invades their country.

Most of the refugees are supposed to go to neighboring countries like Poland, but could they come to Florida?

News4Jax spoke with Laura Cook, Resettlement Manager of Northeast Florida Lutheran Social Services. She said it was difficult to say whether the crisis will push the Ukrainian population in this direction.

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“We have been advised by a national volunteer agency that works directly with the government that the State Department is monitoring the situation and they will let us know if there are any changes to the travel of people who are already booked into our organization they don’t know what it’s going to be like, but they’re monitoring the situation,” Cook said.

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According to Cook, northeast Florida has taken in a steady pace of Ukrainian refugees in recent years.

In the past week, Cook said, two families from Ukraine have traveled to northeast Florida and another family is expected to come next month. She said these families weren’t escaping because of the invasion, but traveling through the Lautenberg program.

“Which is for people living in the Soviet Union who are of a minority religion and people in the United States can apply for their families and it usually takes two years, so we get Ukrainian refugees throughout the year “, said Cook.

Despite so many unknowns, Cook said Lutheran social services are waiting for what the situation for Ukrainian refugees will look like.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax – All Rights Reserved.


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