Some Afghan refugees are still stuck in hotels in Los Angeles months after arriving

As the US Plans to take in refugees from UkraineThe Southern California housing crisis continues to be a problem for Afghan refugees who have arrived in recent months.

Some Afghan refugees are still stuck in hotels in Los Angeles months after arriving

The US-backed government collapse in Afghanistan last August led to a massive air transport of tens of thousands of Afghan refugees. Since then, resettlement agencies have worked to establish these families with things like social services, housing and labor.

But in Southern California’s crowded rental market, finding affordable affordable housing for Afghan families still turns out to be difficult months later, said Lillian Alba, vice president of immigration and refugee services at the International Institute of Los Angeles, one of a handful of local resettlement agencies. .

“Among the families that the IILA has received and brought into our community, we have between 75 and 80 families who are still in hotels,” Alba said, adding that most of these families are in the LA district.

In Orange County, which has attracted many Afghan refugees, it is estimated that close to 40 Afghan families are still staying in hotels, said Jose Serrano of Global Aid in the Garden Grove.

The biggest problem is a shortage of affordable housing, Alba said. Another hurdle is that apartment owners, many of whom have suffered a financial blow to rents in the epidemic, continue to be “very careful about who they get as tenants,” she said.

“We had landlords who asked for six months’ rent in advance, so we had families who were asked to offer $ 30,000 so they could move in,” Alba said.

More Afghans arrived in Southern California last fall and winter as refugees were gradually released from camps set up at U.S. military bases. Resettlement agencies were reluctant to find them temporary housing In hotels, motels, even with host families volunteering to accommodate them. Many have already been housed, but not all.

The agencies work with associations and community groups to find permanent housing for the remaining families. Community groups, churches and other local organizations are still helping them raise funds to help cover the transition costs of Afghan families.

A critical deadline approaching for many Afghans still staying in hotels is the three-month anniversary of their arrival, Alba said. Resettlement agencies are funded to cover portfolio management for new refugees for 90 days, until then – under normal circumstances – they are supposed to settle.

“Because families have been staying in hotels for so long, some of the resettlement money we received has been exhausted, so it is necessary to continue to secure private funds that will help them pay these hefty deposits,” Alba said.

The goal is to bring the remaining families to permanent housing over the next month, she said.

The ongoing housing challenge occurs when the Biden administration plans to accept Up to 100,000 Ukrainians displaced from the war With Russia. So far, most of those who entered the U.S. came with visas their families purchased here, or b Conditional humanitarian release Obtainable at the U.S.-Mexico border.

While local resettlement agencies are awaiting further details, Alba said she is concerned about how they can fully support and accommodate new Ukrainian refugees arriving in Southern California.

“We are very happy to hear that the United States will receive 100,000 Ukrainians,” she said.

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