IRC Charlottesville working to resettle Afghan families

International Rescue Committee (FILE)
International Rescue Committee (FILE)(WVIR)
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 11:55 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Families from Afghanistan are resettling in Charlottesville, establishing a new life with the help of the International Rescue Committee.

The IRC says it is dealing with a higher number of Afghan families than usual.

“So in the last month we’ve resettled 12 families - about 72 individuals - and that’s been since the end of July. Some of those people came through what we call traditional channels, which means we knew that they were coming in advance,” IRC Resettlement Manager Caitlin Reinhard said.

The organization is working to set up these families with basic needs: “Everything from enrolling their kids in school, enrolling them in employment programs, getting them signed up for English,” Reinhard said. “They’re currently in temporary housing, that’s a real issue that the IRC faces, prior to the Afghan crisis.”

The issue is finding permanent housing that can fit these families.

“The challenge with these Afghan SIV [special immigrant visa] families is they are large families, and that requires a minimum of a three-bedroom apartment, and those are not easy to find here in Charlottesville. Affordable, is even harder,” Reinhard said.

The IRC says it is thankful for the support and donations from the community. The organization now needs car donations for the families and to find them jobs.

“Another way to help is if you’re a small business owner is to reach out to us if you need employees. These are hardworking people ready to build their lives here with a myriad of skills and that’s a great way to help,” Reinhard said.

The IRC is also getting ready to welcome potentially hundreds of Afghan parolees. Someone can apply for this temporary stay for humanitarian reasons, if they are under threat. The IRC says it does not know when these refugees will arrive, but is preparing.

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