Syrian refugees coming to the United States face a lot of problems, but one of the biggest problems faced by those settling in Metro-Detroit is that they don’t have cars. We have virtually no public transportation, and we’ve really developed around the nickname “Motor City”. Nearly everyone in Detroit and Metro-Detroit owns their own car from the time they can get their license – it’s nearly impossible to live here without one.
Refugees have to pay back their plane tickets, food until they get food stamps, and all medical care the first few months. They only get a small stipend before coming here, and it runs out quickly. The stipend should be able to be used to purchase a car if necessary, but often it is used completely on food and hotel stays until the family can obtain more permanent housing.
One man that I visited recently was telling us that he walked 2.5 hours to get bread.
I asked him three times, because I was sure that I heard him wrong.
Then we Googled it, because my friend and I were sure he was wrong.
The closest store to him is a 1 hour and 15 minute walk from his house. Which he walks in December, in Michigan, because his family needs bread and he doesn’t have another way to get there.
It’s the small things that we often take for granted.