by Kenn Speicher, District Mission Coordinator
An affordable housing crisis is taking place that affects, among others, many recently arriving Afghans who escaped the Taliban and have now come to northern VA. Individuals or congregations can help by providing or identifying short-term housing assistance.
Since mid-2022, there has been an influx of Afghans into the U.S. After long and arduous journeys, they are in the U.S. legally, having obtained ICE documents permitting them to enter the U.S. while they apply for asylum. But this status does not allow them access to government assistance, resettlement benefits, or work permits until 6 months after submission of their asylum application. As a result, many are in need of short-term housing assistance.
NOVA Friends of Refugee (NFOR), an interfaith volunteer support network, receives requests for help. NFOR refers them to appropriate service organizations in the area, but demand is exceeding capacity. Some of these families, who often have elementary-age children and younger, risk homelessness if temporary living space cannot be found.
Here are ways you can help:
- Provide or share information about places where a family could live for the next few months.
- Share information about family-appropriate homeless shelters in northern Virginia?
- Volunteer with NFOR to field temporary housing requests and investigate and provide referrals. This can be done online and at your convenience.
Please contact Kenn Speicher, District mission coordinator and NFOR co-founder, for details. 703-328-2607