ISU studies impact of resettlement on Ukrainian refugees in Iowa

AMES — Iowa State University researchers are studying challenges facing Ukrainian refugees who settle in Iowa and they hope to build an app that will help groups to identify housing for refugees in the future.

ISU civil engineering professor Cristina Poleacovschi  wants to document the experiences of the refugees. She says stable housing is foundational to a refugee’s integration, but it’s not always readily available in the resettlement process.  “Refugees are already a group of people who are experiencing trauma,” Poleacovschi says, “and whenever being resettled to a different place, if they are not provided with the right resources, that the effect of trauma on their quality of life is compounded.”

She says the researchers will bring their work to policy-makers in hopes of improving conditions.

ISU political science professor Scott Feinstein says the team will document what the refugee are going through in hopes of bringing their often-marginalized voice to the forefront. “With the intent to bring the voice and challenges that refugees are facing to those who are planning cities, who are, you know, stakeholders in these communities,” Feinstein says.

He says the project will also explore how refugee arrivals shape our national identity.