AUGUSTA — An informational session Thursday aimed at area landlords will focus upon the challenges faced by refugees and immigrants seeking housing, and ways landlords can help overcome inter-cultural communication problems with them.

Representatives of Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services will present information on the refugee experience and resources for landlords working with the new Mainer population.

“As we are all acutely aware, Augusta has become home to many new Mainers coming here from countries such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and finding appropriate housing can be a challenge,” said Amanda Bartlett, executive director of Augusta Housing Authority, the host of the event. “We are working to expand opportunities for these new families, who have so much to offer our community. Unfortunately, occasionally we hear misinformation in our community about these populations. Our hope is that providing some education on the topic will help improve housing opportunities, promote acceptance and reduce discrimination.”

The event, which is free and open to the public, is at 5 p.m. Thursday in the community room at Lithgow Public Library. Attendees may RSVP to Bartlett at [email protected]

Bartlett said the session will include personal stories from at least one refugee from the war-torn Middle East. She said she attended a similar presentation last year and found it to be one of the most powerful, eye-opening educational sessions she’s attended.

She said the goal of the event, which is sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, is to help landlords and community members better understand the refugee experience and overcome inter-cultural community problems that can occur in landlord-tenant relationships.

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