The shortage of affordable housing in the United States has not only affected first-time home buyers, it has also made it difficult for resettlement agencies tasked with finding homes for newly arrived refugees.
During his visit to Dallas, Curtis Ried, senior director of multilateral affairs for the National Security Council, said resettlement agencies looked at different housing options. An example? More partnerships with the private sector.
“We’ve heard about Airbnb helping on the housing front, partnerships with Amazon, other companies that help get the goods refugees need to set up their new homes,” Ried said.
Greater collaboration and communication with other agencies involved in helping refugees is important, Ried added.
“Resettlement agencies were saying they now have a much more cohesive pool of shared housing resources because they have been pushed to identify housing resources to meet needs and they believe this will strengthen the system at the future,” he said.
The Afghan refugees were first placed on military bases after arriving in the United States last year. Many were later moved to temporary accommodations like hotels. Ried said agencies need to educate individuals and organizations who are unfamiliar with the resettlement process or who have never provided assistance to refugees.
“Talking to developers, landlords, private leasing companies to explain the needs of this population, explain why they may not have a credit history in the United States and the resources and benefits that are available to those in the program to reassure landlords that they will be good tenants,” he said.
So far, about 85% of Afghan refugees have been moved to permanent housing in the United States. Some critics said the United States treated those fleeing the war in Ukraine better than those who fled Afghanistan or other countries like Syria. Ried said each group has different needs.
“Afghans who are brought here come here for permanent resettlement,” he said. “We also got them out by airlift, and it is very difficult to escape from Afghanistan by land, which I think is a very important distinction with the Ukraine crisis, where we have countries from the Union European Union and others who are taking in Ukrainians who are fleeing. ”
Ried was recently in Moldova where he met Ukrainian refugees, mostly women and children who left behind husbands, brothers and sons. Most of them, he said, told him they wanted to return to Ukraine after the war was over.
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