ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After escaping war in their homeland, some Syrian refugees are afraid of getting shot in their new home in north St. Louis.
Syrians living in an apartment complex near Page and Hodiamont met with their neighborhood alderman and with a representative of the agency that placed them here, the International Institute.
The hour-long meeting dealt with complaints of gunfire in the night, roaches, mice and rats.
One Syrian woman, speaking through a translator, says it’s so bad she phoned friends at a refugee camp in Jordan to warn them not to come to St. Louis.
“Eight p.m. we cannot leave our apartment,” the translator said. “And if we want to leave, we need to be in a group. No one can leave the apartment as a single, or with one other — no — we need to be in a group.”
A representative of the International Institute, Suzanne LeLaurin, promised to meet with police to seek more patrols in the area.
LeLaurin also encouraged the Syrians to work on four things she says will change their lives within a year: Learning English, getting a job, buying a car and getting their children in school.
Syrians complained that the English classes they need are too far away – two bus rides away at the International Institute near Grand and Arsenal in south city.
There’s been some suggestion that English tutors from the Institute should come to the apartment complex, rather than making the residents go to them.
The residents also complained of some apartments being infested with bugs and mice.
LeLaurin told them to keep the food off their floors, and keep the doors and windows closed to keep out bugs and mice.
Alderman Jeffrey Boyd also attended the meeting and predicts the Syrian immigrants will do better as time goes by.
“Most of these families two years from now probably won’t be here, because they’ve gotten jobs, and they’ve moved on to better living conditions and better surroundings,” Boyd said. “It’s kind of like an upgrade. But this is not a bad start.”
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