Here’s How You Can Help SoCal’s Afghan Refugees
As of Dec. 21, there were 4,719 new Afghans refugees resettled in California, according to the U.S. State Department.
Refugee resettlement agencies expect thousands more families to arrive in the next several months, as more Afghan refugees leave the U.S. military bases where they’ve been housed since the U.S.-backed government fell to the Taliban in August.
This means finding these families temporary and long-term affordable housing, not an easy task in Southern California. It also means connecting them with critical public services, getting kids into local schools, and helping adults find work.
At the same time, local resettlement agencies are stretched thin: Only four local organizations are currently doing resettlement work. They’ve been partnering with other nonprofits and faith groups, and also reaching out to the community for donations and in-kind support.
Jose Serrano of World Relief in Garden Grove listed a few of the basics that newly arrived families will need::
“The most critical things that families are needing right now that have arrived from Afghanistan are housing, housing, housing, housing,” he said. “And then also just very basic essentials, like warm clothes, right? Like coats, especially, since it's pretty cold. As well as … even just debit cards they can use.”
Serrano also mentioned cell phones and computers, which refugees will need as they look for jobs. World Relief’s Garden Grove office managed resettlement cases until demand dried up during the Trump administration; now it works in a support role alongside the local resettlement agencies that are still active.
With the demand for housing especially critical, some resettlement groups are seeking potential landlords who may be willing to rent a vacant apartment, as well as host families who have space to temporarily house newly-arrived refugees.
If you want to help, here is a list of agencies working to resettle refugees in Southern California:
International Institute of Los Angeles
International Rescue Committee
Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Service
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