Afghan refugees arrive in Tallahassee in need of accommodation and other assistance

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The first of 115 refugees expected from Afghanistan who will start a new life in Tallahassee over the next year has arrived, prompting a need for housing and other assistance.

The International Rescue Committee, a resettlement agency that helps refugees assimilate with Americans, has taken in a dozen Afghan refugees since the start of the month. JC Torres, development manager for IRC Tallahassee, said large families were among the new arrivals.

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“People are very happy to be here,” he said. “They feel safe, and they just feel the joy of finally being in their new home and settled in. There are certainly a lot of emotions that this whole process evokes in people.

Torres said the IRC is asking for monetary donations for hotel rooms, Airbnbs and other short-term accommodation for refugees, who sometimes arrive at Tallahassee International Airport with just 48 hours notice and have need a place to stay.

“This gives us time for our housing team to find long-term accommodation, move-in dates, rent, to fill out the paperwork,” Torres said.

He said the IRC has already seen a wave of support for the refugees.

“We received a ton of donations … clothes, personal hygiene items in addition to furniture that is used to furnish long-term housing for the refugees. We ask people to donate money because these funds really give us … flexibility.

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In late August, in the midst of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden asked the Department of Homeland Security to help Afghan evacuees resettle in America as part of “Operation Allies Welcome.”

The new arrivals include translators, military attachés, and others who helped the United States during what has become its longest war. They are controlled both abroad and in the United States by numerous federal agencies.

“Overall, people are very optimistic,” Torres said of the Afghans who have visited Tallahassee so far. “People find a lot of grace and they are happy to find the peace that comes from feeling secure. “

How to help

To donate or find out how to help or volunteer, email [email protected] or call (850) 391-9610.

Contact Jeff Burlew at [email protected] or follow @JeffBurlew on Twitter.

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