Washington preparing for surge of Afghan refugees in coming weeks
More than 100 Afghan refugees have arrived in Washington state since July. Officials are anticipating another wave in the weeks ahead.
Since 2010, Washington has welcomed more than 30,000 refugees, according to the State Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance. More than 4,100 of them are Afghans who’ve been granted Special Immigrant Visas for their role in US missions.
Approximately 143 Afghan people have resettled in the state between end of July and August 14 of this year.
Most of the refugees have resettled in King County, though some have resettled in Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane counties. Each member receives a one-time cash payment of $1,200 to help with rent, and basic necessities during their first 90 days of resettlement.
Local non-profits help with their resettlement by providing services like language training, applying for social security cards, and connecting them to social services.
The biggest challenge so far is finding affordable housing. The pandemic has compounded the challenge, as hotel and Airbnb availability are limited.
Pierce and Snohomish counties have expressed support for the refugees and are encouraging residents to welcome them in their homes, or offer help to local organizations in their transition.
The Washington Department of Social and Health Services has compiled this list of organizations helping Afghan refugees. Local groups include: