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World Relief expects to resettle 300 Afghans


Mark Finney

In Spokane, World Relief expects to resettle 300 of 50,000 Afghan evacuees who are coming nationally between now and the end of this calendar year, so it is looking for landlords interested in renting apartments or houses to these new families.  

"We are also receiving funds to help with needs such as medical expenses that are not covered by government funds," said Mark Finney, executive director.

"This is a defining moment for us as people of faith. Will we step up to stand with our new neighbors as they seek refuge from Taliban brutality, or will we sit on the sidelines out of fear or indifference?" he asked. "I am confident congregations across Spokane will rise to this challenge and prove once again what makes our country so special. We welcome all who yearn to breathe free." 

To provide services for Afghan refugees, World Relief is hiring staff and seeking people who speak and can help with interpreting Dari and Pashto. Jobs are posted on the website.

Faith communities are engaging in practical ways, with several in early processes of assisting, offering housing, such as in unused parsonages," Mark said.

Afghans who are part of the Special Immigration Visa Program worked with the U.S. government and contractors may have one family member who speaks English.

"We announced the need for volunteers and so many want to volunteer that we have filled our scheduled volunteer training through the end of December," said Mark, encouraging individuals and congregations who want to help now to raise money.

"Most Afghans coming do not qualify for social services, such as Medicaid, to help support getting COVID, hepatitis, polio and measles vaccinations," he said. "So fundraising is important.

"We are also experiencing a housing shortage locally, so we seek help from faith communities to find housing," Mark added. "That includes unused apartments, guest homes, student housing, church properties and anything that could serve as a new home for someone for six to 12 months or more."

Housing is needed in the next four to six weeks, but housing available any time in the next several months would be helpful. 

"We are willing to work with whatever we find. We need places that are clean, safe, sanitary and affordable for a family on a minimum wage income," he said.

"Awakening a Christian conscience on behalf of the vulnerable is a core call of World Relief and an integral way that we empower local churches to serve and stand with the vulnerable," he said.

"We consider it an essential task to engage American churches and remind leaders and congregations alike that our Christian faith should compel us to seek justice and mercy for the vulnerable and suffering. In increasingly divisive times, we are proud of our leading role as a thoughtful voice in the U.S. evangelical community," Mark continued.

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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, October, 2021