RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As the United States military continues evacuations of Americans and Afghans at risk for helping the U.S., relief organizations across the Triangle are gearing up for to receive potentially hundreds of families in need.
Laura Deaton Klauke, with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said the organization is expecting a couple hundred emergency evacuees to arrive in the Triangle over the next few weeks.
“A sudden influx of families in need of assistance with housing, and employment and a wide range of services in order to help them get on their feet,” Klauke said.
Afghans arriving will come with emergency Special Immigrant Visas, or SIVs.
Adam Clark, the director of World Relief Durham, said his organization has already started to receive families from Fort Lee in Virginia.
“We’ve been resettling Afghans for many years here in the Triangle, but (we’re) certainly (seeing) an uptick very quickly here from folks coming out of Fort Lee,” Clark said. “Time is of the essence to save lives.”
Ryan Smith, also with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said they will need community support to help house and acclimate SIVs in the Triangle.
Usually, relief groups get a few weeks’ notice, but now Smith said that time has been cut to just one or two days.
“Our ability to resettle Afghan SIVs, as well as refugees from other countries, really depend on the support we get from our community partners,” Smith said.
One of those community partners is Welcome House Raleigh. Leaders Kim and Marc Wyatt said they are looking for apartment complexes that might work with them to provide long-term solutions.
“It’s very hard to find permanent housing when you don’t have any job or credit history in the United States,” Kim Wyatt said. “We are calling for landlords that would say, here come here, you have a place here.”
For those who want to help, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants said they’re looking for volunteers to help with furnishing apartments, translators, people willing to help orient the new evacuees to the area.
World Relief Durham has a number of school, grocery and housing supply lists online that can help families get set up once in the area.