Getting Ready for the arrivals
Last update: Sept 9, 2021
We've all seen the photos of the Afghan evacuees waiting at the Kabul Airport gates, waiting in long lines to have their papers processed and crammed on board transport planes to escape their homeland. Those who are fortunate enough to have found a way to escape now face the challenge of starting a new life in a country not likely to be anything like the life they've had before.
For those Afghan families arriving in the US, who will be there to greet them? To help them find jobs? To give them English lessons? And on and on.
Whatever one's political leanings may be, Americans are concerned about and sympathetic to those fleeing Afghanistan. A poll published in Forbes showed that 81% of Americans support resettlement of those who helped the US during the 20 year war. Our website has been flooded with contacts from people who want to help.
We don't yet know what the landscape of resettlement for Afghans will be. LexRAP is in close touch with the three groups that will oversee the people who will come to Massachusetts. The timing is uncertain, yet we are told that the arrivals are imminent. The numbers are unclear, we have heard between 150 to 900 people may end up in our state. Most undefined is the status of the folks coming. Will they have Refugee Status which entitles them to federal benefits that resettlement agencies have traditionally provided? Or will they arrive under a "Parolee" status which gives them only a one-time token payment, totally insufficient for a family to being their new lives in the US?
Will they get financial and social service support? How much will they need and for how long? Will they come with the right to work, or will they have to wait months or years and seek asylum? Will they be able to get Mass Health? Will housing be found and paid for or will they need to be hosted in people's homes? All this needs to be sorted out so people and organizations can offer help where it is needed.
The three resettlement groups in MA likely to elp all or most of those coming are Ascentria, Catholic Charities, and the International Institute of New England (IINE). They are all in the process of preparing for the new arrivals, despite facing the financial cuts that resulted from the previous administration's decrease in refugee admissions. Furniture and houseold goods can be donated to Household Goods in Action or Mission of Deeds in Reading. -- contact info is listed below. Both are wonderful free resources fro families as they set up households in eastern MA. There will surely be clothing drives for the families when they arrive. LexRAP will put to direct use all financial donations it receives. To help, click HERE to donate , or send a check to LexRAP, PO Box 244, Lexington MA, 02420
LexRAP will be involved in some way, helping Afghan refugees. We will work locally. We hope to have families in our towns - our new neighbors - as Afghans families join the LexRAP "tribes". We are organizing volunteers, taking financial donations and looking for families who might be able to host those coming. We just don't know yet all that will be needed. Please stay tuned.