Pentagon preparing for 50,000 Afghanistan refugees, getting support from humanitarian groups

Refugees from Afghanistan are escorted to a waiting bus after arriving and being processed at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., Aug. 23, 2021.

WASHINGTON — Everything from clothes, cultural foods to translators are just some of the basic needs that resettlement agencies provide for refugees.

But with 50,000 Afghanistan refugees expected and coming so quickly, these groups say the one of the biggest challenges they face is housing.

One of those groups is the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency in Charlotte, North Carolina, and staff say they’re already trying to find refugees homes.

“We are making every effort that we can reaching out to the community, asking for their help that more apartment complexes to open up their arms to host these refugees once they arrive,” Thakur Mishra, Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency case manager.

Mishra said Afghan refugees who resettled in the Queen City over the years are also opening up their homes.

“It’s the right time come together, to lend our supporting hand to make the feel more welcoming and give them whatever support that they need” said Mishra.

U.S. State Department data shows there are 19 cities many Afghan refugees call home based on cost of living, housing option and jobs. Those cities include Atlanta, Jacksonville and Pittsburgh.

HIAS, a Jewish refugee protection organization, is advocating for long-term resettlement support and services.

“It’s about getting their kids enrolled in school, it’s making sure they have medical checks, making sure all their paperwork is taken care of, all legal needs are met,” said Naomi Steinberg, HIAS Vice President of policy and advocacy. “We’re really focused on making sure there’s a whole-of-government and that all the resources that are necessary are available so after their initial 30, 60, 90 days the support doesn’t just disappear.”

HIAS also sent staff to Fort Lee, Virginia to help with processing refugees there.