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Supporting Afghan Arrivals

Because of our history, Jews have a special affinity for refugees. As of mid-November, our new Afghan Support Team has met with refugee resettlement agency New American Pathways, collected outerwear during a one-week coat drive, and coordinated items for 18 culturally sensitive welcome baskets. 

Want to join CBH’s Afghan Support Team? These few dozen volunteer congregants receive occasional emails about opportunities and projects that don’t go to the full congregation. There are also chances to step up and help coordinate parts of the effort. To be added to the list, please email both Kim Goldsmith and Greg Lawrence (kimgoldsmith@comcast.netexecdirector@cbhatlanta.org). 
 

Background On Incoming Afghan Refugees And New American Pathways

As New AP’s Nancy Gaddy explained to us, the hundreds of Afghan families arriving here possess little more than the clothes on their backs. Many are educated professionals (tech workers, accountants, translators) who had been assisting United States personnel in Afghanistan. They escaped their homeland abruptly in August and September under chaotic, traumatic circumstances, leaving careers, property, savings, and maybe loved ones behind. They then landed in extremely temporary housing, such as tents on army bases. 

These people are not coming through the usual vetted refugee pipeline. They have the emergency status “humanitarian parolees.” That means fewer federal dollars per person for housing. And because of the current housing crunch, they may end up resettled far beyond DeKalb, in other parts of metro Atlanta and Georgia. Agencies are looking into hotel space for starters, which would put family groups in single rooms without kitchens. 

(As an additional wrinkle, resettlement organizations had scaled way down under the previous administration, with refugee inflow down to a trickle. They must now ramp up dramatically to meet the influx.)

For now, we are supporting immediate priorities as requested: gifts, gift cards, coats, office help, etc. 

In 2022, as the Afghans hopefully move into more permanent housing, volunteers will be able to start working with families directly, as English tutors and so on. That phase may require training and background check. Updates to follow.

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783