WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – West Springfield ranks fourth in the country for refugee resettlements per capita according to a recent report.
Since 2015, West Springfield has resettled close to 200 refugees every year according to the report. 22News spoke with Mayor Will Reichelt who said being at the top of the list is a great thing for the town.
“The refugees they become self-supportive, they become taxpayers, they become homeowners,” said Mayor Reichelt.
West Springfield has resettled hundreds of refugees from unstable and war-torn countries, for years. According to the report from American Public Media’s America Amplified project, West Springfield averaged 161 refugee resettlements per year from 2015 to 2019.
Mayor Reichelt said that without the resettlements, West Springfield’s population would have likely declined, adding, “Go down Main Street or Union Street and the amount of refugee owned, immigrant-owned restaurants and grocery stores, community center they build. It is a positive for West Springfield we have such a diverse community.”
There are about 47 different languages spoken in West Springfield schools. The school districts accommodate all of these students’ needs to make sure they receive a proper education. The town also introduces new refugees to organizations like Ascentria Care Alliance to help start their new lives.
Springfield was ranked 66 in the study.