JOHNSON COUNTY — About 200 Afghan evacuees have resettled within the last 10 days, leaving about 6,400 evacuees on base at Camp Atterbury, that's according to Director of Veteran Affairs, Matt Hall.
Hall said there haven't been any reports of violence or disease outbreaks at Camp Atterbury, but they have been experiencing a baby boom. On average, there's one birth a day.
"So, there's one new American citizen per day at Camp Atterbury," Hall explained. "Which was a whole new curveball. We weren't planning for that, we didn't have a maternity ward at Camp Atterbury, but they're figuring it out."
As a new life is born almost daily at Camp Atterbury, the more than 6,000 Afghan evacuees are also settling into their new lives in America.
"They're not great, but they're grateful," Hall said. "They are happy to be here. Yes, they are living in barracks. There is not a lot to do. They don't have TVs, they don't have playgrounds, they don't have a lot so they're living and making do with what they got. But man, are they extremely grateful to be here versus in danger in their country."
Hall said Hoosiers have really stepped up to the plate to provide clothing, food, baby supplies, and more. The issue now is finding landlords with availability.
"So, it's tough to find houses and rental units that we can place these people in, so we've had to think outside the box," Hall said.
He explained how all hands are on deck searching through rental websites. So far, they've been able to find 2,500 possible homes for placement throughout Indiana, along with jobs.
"Hoosiers have been coming together in droves to help people out. We have over 2,500 jobs here locally for refugees. Now we have housing. Now we're working on transportation," he said.
He said the evacuees have been vetted. It's just a matter of when they can get their green cards to start working.
"We did the biometrics. In fact, they went through three to four rounds of biometric screening to make sure they weren't showing up on any terrorist watch list," Hall said.
Plus, Hall's proud of the way soldiers and the community have come together during this time.
"We see soldiers, these young privates, and specialists who haven't been to war. Well, this is war," he said. "This is their time to interact with a foreign nation and I could not be more proud of these kids that are out there helping."
So, what's next? Hall said it's sponsors that are needed to help get the evacuee's driver's licenses and landlords with housing or apartment availability. They're asked to put that information on a newly created website, called Afghanguest.com.
Hall adds that Camp Atterbury also appreciates all of the winter coat donations for children, but they need more coats for adults, as well as socks, boots, and baby supplies, are still in high demand.