Best of Kansas City 2021: Kansas City to welcome 550 Afghan refugees
The first family of Afghan refugees arrived in Kansas City September 17. Of the 1,200 families projected to make Missouri their new home, Kansas City resettlement agencies have offered to help up to 550 groups settle in the metro area, according to Mayor Lucas.
The process of welcoming our new Afghan neighbors starts with a trio of local agencies—Jewish Vocational Services, Della Lamb, and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas—who receive assignments from the U.S. State Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. They meet refugees at the airport, help them find housing, and provide necessities for families who arrive with next to nothing.
These groups are allotted a few days to a week for this process, after which organizations like KC fod Refugees take over and continue to collect and distribute basic household items, clothing, and monetary donations. Among the more pressing concerns is a lack of affordable housing and reliable transportation, a dire need for interpreters who can help bridge the language gap, tutors, and adequate childcare services.
“If people want to help, they can stay in touch with us through our Facebook page, or donate money through PayPal,” says KC for Refugees Director Linda Zemke. “These funds allow us to purchase things that aren’t donated, or pay their rent for a month if they have [extenuating circumstances].”