Successfully Housing Our Afghan Arrivals

By USCRI August 19, 2022

Between October and March, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants North Carolina Field Office (USCRI NC) resettled over 260 fleeing Afghans. Despite the scarcity of affordable housing, all those refugees have now found permanent and secure housing.

The rapid arrival of families fleeing Afghanistan beginning last August created both daunting challenges and special moments of human connection. This unprecedented situation brought together the best of our community. Safely housing these refugees would not have been possible without a community-wide response and commitment.

Here are just a few of the unsung heroes and USCRI NC partners who play a vital role in welcoming those fleeing violence:

Welcome House Raleigh has an insatiable appetite to build community. Through their network of houses, each managed by dedicated hospitality teams, they provide temporary home and sanctuary to those just stepping off the plane. During this time of housing scarcity, Welcome House has literally saved clients from homelessness.

Al-Muslim Net has touched the lives of so many refugees with their deep involvement in every aspect of resettlement. From airport pickups, to providing weekly groceries and hot meals, furnishing homes, and connecting clients with their greater cultural communities, Al-Muslim Net answers every call.

Hayes Barton Baptist Church halted demolition of three houses whose removal was part of a longed-planned building expansion. They made those homes available instead to provide temporary housing at a time when we experienced our highest influx and greatest need. Their Circle of Friends groups showered incoming refugees with care and attention and ushered many through difficult times.

The Green Chair Project is an impressively organized non-profit that collects used furniture and home goods. Their artistic staff and volunteers package and deliver the donated goods into beautifully coordinated sets, available to families in need. Beginning in 2022, Green Chair partnered with many of the USCRI NC Welcome Home community groups to outfit new refugee apartments. Room by room they turn cold, empty units into comfortable and even stylish homes.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Countless volunteers, churches, and civic organizations have helped welcome refugees by setting up apartments, stocking kitchens and pantries, and building strong bonds to help guide and steady their new refugee friends. Our property management partners have afforded us a level of flexibility and understanding not often associated with the industry, especially when they reach out to us with upcoming available units.

In June, our organization moved our final Afghan family (for now) into their permanent home. Still, we expect approximately 50 more families to resettle in Raleigh this year, including Ukrainians. The work continues and we are so grateful to be a part of such a motivated and compassionate community here in the Oak City.

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