WHAT IS BUFFALO UNITED FOR AFGHAN EVACUEES?
Buffalo United for Afghan Evacuees formed in August 2021 in response to the growing humanitarian challenge caused by the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent evacuation of Afghans to the United States. Recognizing the need for a coordinated response, five local organizations that resettle or serve refugees came together. The organizations comprising this coalition are: Catholic Charities of Buffalo, the International Institute of Buffalo, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Jewish Family Services, and Journey's End Refugee Services.
WHY ARE AFGHAN EVACUEES COMING TO BUFFALO?
In late August, the US State Department announced its intent to admit up to 50,000 Afghan evacuees in the six months between September 2021 and March 2022. The State Department has asked resettlement agencies nationwide to provide support to these evacuees, who were transported to the US by our federal government and are being screened and processed at military bases around the US.
Collectively, the five agencies in Buffalo that have historically served refugees and others in our immigrant community - Catholic Charities of Buffalo, the International Institute of Buffalo, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Jewish Family Services, and Journey's End Refugee Services - have agreed to welcome and support 350 evacuees as they transition to self-sufficiency in WNY.
WHAT IS THE NEED?
Evacuees, as of this moment, will receive extremely minimal public assistance, if any. This means they will not be able to access resources like housing assistance, supplemental food aid, government-run medical programs, and more. There are also likely to be long delays in their obtaining work authorizations from the US government. While evacuees will be given a per capita grant from the State Department - $1225 per person – this will not be enough to pay for living expenses for one year, even once work authorization is granted.
Because of this, our agencies are asking the community to help us make sure these vulnerable families have the shelter, clothing, and food they need as they arrive and until they are settled. Our goal is to seek the support of our community in several ways -- to raise $750,000 to pay for housing and other basic needs, for the donation of goods and time, as well as advocacy.