Missoula refugee resettlement on track for busiest year ever

Bret Anne Serbin

Fiscal Year 2022 was the busiest year for refugee resettlement since the International Rescue Committee opened a Missoula office in 2016. Over the past year, the IRC resettled 159 people within the Missoula community.

Sarah Howerton of the International Rescue Committee discusses refugee resettlement in Montana.

And fiscal 2023 is expected to exceed last year’s high point, with 250 refugees anticipated to arrive in Missoula, according to the organization’s development director, Sarah Howerton. 

Service providers who work with the local refugee population expressed confidence their organizations are prepared for the influx of immigrants and refugees.

“We’ve definitely grown over the last six years,” said Mary Poole, executive director for the nonprofit Soft Landing. “Partnerships and partners and the community have grown and that’s how we meet that need through a community effort and the efforts of our partners as well.”

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Poole’s organization welcomed its first family from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the summer of 2016.

Poole shared a story at a City Club event Monday in which she remembered the mother of that family seemingly saying “Missoula” over and over

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