Village of Menomonee Falls — The Alaboud Alissa family of six are refugees from Syria have come to call Menomonee Falls their home after being hosted by a local family, but they've found rejection while trying to get a home of their own.
Menomonee Falls resident Anza D’Antonio and her family hosted the refugees for three months in their home.
She said the family has experienced racism in the community.
"Vocal voices promoting explicit anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim attitudes have dominated public conversation," D'Antonio said. "Yet, my experience with the Alaboud Alissa family has been very different — especially from those I meet in the faith community."
While searching for an apartment to call their home in Menomonee Falls, the refugees were denied housing.
"A local landlord refused to rent to the family for lack of "credit" despite the fact that my husband and I volunteered to pay rent ahead and co-sign the lease agreement," D'Antonio said."
Under state law, a landlord can deny rental due to lack of credit and they are not legally obligated to accept a co-signer.
Despite the setback, the Alaboud Alissa family was able to rent an apartment in November, and this month, they received an unexpected surprise.
The Syrian family has to pay back $7,000 to the U.S. government for its airfare; they have a seven-year deadline to do it, but after reading about the family in the Northwest Now, the Holy Cross Lutheran Church offered to help pay off their debt.
On Monday, Jan. 9, the church wrote a check for $1,000 to help the family become debt free.
"We are hoping between Anza (D'Antonio) and ourselves that our story of helping them would inspire other people to do something, including a donation, or reading to the children to help them learn English," said Lowell Carl, board member of the Holy Cross Lutheran Mission Endowment Board.
The father of the family is still seeking employment in Menomonee Falls. D'Antonio asks anyone who may have a job opportunity for him to contact her on LinkedIn.