Here’s how Atlantans can sponsor refugees and help them settle in Ga.

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

The State Department’s Welcome Corps program lets ordinary citizens get involved in the resettlement process.

With levels of global displacement reaching record highs, the U.S. has unveiled a new mechanism to welcome refugees into the country, allowing private citizens to sponsor newcomers looking to resettle in their communities.

The pilot program, dubbed Welcome Corps, marks the beginning of a new phase for the country’s refugee resettlement process, which has traditionally relied on government-funded nonprofits.

In recent decades, Atlanta residents have seen the arrival of refugees fleeing oppression and war transform parts of the metro area, most notably the town of Clarkston in DeKalb County. Starting this year, they can join everyday Americans across the country in financially assisting and directly sponsoring refugees seeking resettlement.

In the Welcome Corps’ first year, the U.S. State Department hopes to recruit 10,000 sponsors and help 5,000 refugees.

Groups of at least five U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply to sponsor newcomers. They will need to raise $2,275 for each person they plan on supporting. With that money, sponsors commit to helping refugees through their first 90 days here, which can include securing housing and covering food expenses, among other basic needs.

Additional responsibilities for sponsors would include greeting refugees at the airport, helping children enroll in school and helping adults find jobs.

“This program invites Americans to be partners and guides to refugees as they build new lives in the United States and help them realize their full potential,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

Like all refugees admitted into the country through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, newcomers supported via Welcome Corps will undergo extensive security vetting by U.S. law enforcement, as well as health screenings.

The Biden administration’s overall target for fiscal year 2023 is to resettle 125,000 refugees. Last year’s goal was the same, but only around 25,400 were resettled, with 818 making their way to Georgia.

According to the program’s website, the first Welcome Corps refugees will arrive as early as April, with many of them coming from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The first step to becoming a sponsor is to attend an informational webinar. Sessions are held weekly on Thursdays. Those interested in attending can register for one at

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