Join Us: 75 Viets for 75 Afghan Refugee Families Project
Hi there! Thanks so much to those who’ve visited our site, filled out our intake form, and/or donated to our organization. From what we can gather, the resettlement agencies are very appreciative of the influx of support and interest they’ve received from hundreds of volunteers. If you’ve signed up to help or house refugees, thank you! Please continue to show patience and take direction from the agencies — they are in the process of rebuilding their operations and dealing with an incredibly fluid situation. With regard to the Viets4Afghans team, we’re trying to stay nimble and respond to the most urgent needs being communicated to us by our friends and allies in the Afghan community. As of Oct. 4, we’re launching a new fundraiser. All donations from this point on will be distributed to a fund designated for Afghans in need of humanitarian parole application fee support. See this post for more details. Check back with Viets4Afghans.org often for updates, as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan remains a fluid and unpredictable situation. We thank you for your patience as we sort through a ton of information flying around.
Questions? Email us: Viets4Afghans@gmail.com.
Updated 9/7/2021 — We are updating frequently due to the changing nature of the Afghan humanitarian crisis, so please be sure to hit refresh and contact us at Viets4Afghans@gmail.com for any questions or clarifications.
What’s the problem?
An influx of Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in Washington state in the coming months, especially following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. The situation is fluid and has shifted from a military to humanitarian crisis.
For the latest updates from the state of Washington’s Office of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance, please go here: https://www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/office-refugee-and-immigrant-assistance
Culled from the ORIA website, updated on Aug. 18:
Welcoming Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Holders to Washington
Washington is actively engaged with the federal government to help resettle Afghan individuals and families fleeing the current humanitarian crisis in our local communities.
Between 2010 and 2020, Washington welcomed over 4,000 Afghan Special Immigrant Visa Holders. Just this federal fiscal year, Washington has welcomed 348 people from Afghanistan between Oct. 1, 2020 and July 30, 2021. Through Operation Allies Refuge, from July 29 — Aug. 14, 2021, Washington welcomed 160 Afghans to our local communities. Washington anticipates receiving more individuals and families from Afghanistan through this program.
For more information, please see this program update.
Why are we trying to recruit 75 Vietnamese American families to be hosts or sponsors?
We are aiming to recruit 75 host families to start because 1975 was a significant year for many Vietnamese Americans. In the final days of the Vietnam War, nearly 130,000 South Vietnamese were evacuated and resettled abroad. That first wave of refugees would be followed by millions of others throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Countless Vietnamese Americans were initially sponsored by churches and benefited from the kindness of strangers who took us into their homes while we got back on our feet, offering shelter, services, and friendship. Here in Washington, our community has an obligation to pay it forward, as then-Gov. Dan Evans was the first in the nation to invite Vietnamese refugees to resettle in the Evergreen State. In honor of this legacy, we are now recruiting 75 Vietnamese American families to give back and help the Afghan people as they endure their own tragic refugee journey.
Although we started with the initial goal to find host families, we’re aware this is a challenge during a pandemic. Therefore, we’re in the midst of expanding our efforts to not only find hosts, but to also seek out sponsors who could assist with finding alternate housing.
Stay tuned for updates on how this would work.
What are we trying to do?
We (a group of Vietnamese American friends in Seattle) are tracking the needs of resettlement agencies and community organizations such as the Afghan Health Initiative to inform Vietnamese families on ways they can step up to help Afghan refugee families. Our overarching goal is to share accurate information and to make the appropriate referrals.
Resettlement agencies are only supporting families for 90 days. We’ve been advised that families may need help for up to one year within their arrival, or however long it takes for them to become independent.
Therefore, we will try to assist trusted community organizations and the state’s numerous resettlement agencies with critical needs, including but not limited to:
- Finding Vietnamese families and Vietnamese American organizations willing to assist with finding and/or providing safe and affordable housing.
- Through our shared experience of exile, we’d like to galvanize our Vietnamese community to help Afghan refugees in trauma-informed and culturally appropriate ways. This may include helping with donations and community drives for culturally appropriate food, help with transportation to help deliver food to refugee families, and possibly delivery of baby and children’s supplies.
For anyone who’d like to take immediate action to help families during their first days, we recommending making a monetary donation to any of the following emergency funds being set up to help Afghan refugees, no matter their status.
- Afghan Health Initiative’s emergency fund will provide financial assistance directly to newly arrived Afghan refugees. (Afghan Health Initiative is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 85–0906399) https://afghanhealth.org/donate
- Muslim Association of Puget Sound is also launching an emergency fund to help Afghan refugees with basic needs. (Muslim Association of Puget Sound is a Registered 501(c)(3), Tax ID 20–4423661) www.launchgood.com/WAafghanFund
Can you join Viets4Afghans?
Absolutely! Please be part of our movement!
If you are interested in helping Afghan refugee families, please fill out our intake form and use the volunteer sign-up links provided: https://bit.ly/Viets4Afghans
If you have already been matched with supporting an Afghan refugee (e.g. through hosting, sponsoring, or providing food/furniture/transportation), please shoot us a note and let us know! We would love to include you in documenting our community’s efforts to step up and help.
We also want to hear about you or your family’s own refugee story. Please send us any details and/or pictures that you would be willing to share with our project.
Where do I sign up to help or host a family?
Please fill out our Viets for Afghans intake form: https://bit.ly/Viets4Afghans
Note that if you’d like to commit to hosting, our intake form takes you to AHI’s Host Page that you can check out here: https://afghanhealth.org/hosting-afghan-refugees-faqs
- Note that AHI is partnering with LCSNW and World Relief. Every agency has different needs and requirements. If you’d like to inquire about hosting with other resettlement agencies, please contact them directly.
- Also, there may occasional pauses in host intake. Please follow the resettlement agencies for the latest.
If you do get matched and receive the call to host a family, please let us know! You can send us an email at Viets4Afghans@gmail.com
What if I already signed up with the initial AHI intake form?
As of 8/24, AHI has temporarily disabled additional responses on their host form because of an overwhelming number of responses. Those who’ve signed up already should be receiving an email from AHI with instructions on next steps, including instructions to apply directly with World Relief and LCSNW.
Still, we want to know about Vietnamese families hosting and helping Afghan refugees! We’d love to feature your stories, so please share your pictures and experiences in the coming weeks/months.
How does the matching process work?
Generally, the introduction is made with a host family and resettlement agency, who’ll then work with the volunteering host family to discuss housing accommodations. The case manager for the refugee family will do the brunt of the paperwork.
Remember, each resettlement agency has different rules and requirements. Case managers will work closely with families to ensure all sides feel comfortable.
Will refugees be vaccinated already?
This varies. Many will get vaccinated overseas in a foreign country before coming to the U.S., but some will fall through cracks. There’s an effort underway to get everyone vaccinated once they arrive. Families are screened & tested once they touch down. Please talk to your assigned case worker and the resettlement agency about this issue.
Can we pay for a hotel or AirBnB to accommodate the family instead of hosting at our house?
That’s fine. Go through the application process with your resettlement agency of choice, and let them know you prefer this method of helping. Or go to https://www.airbnb.org/get-involved
How long do families need housing for? Is there any risk that the families will have to stay longer than 3-7 days?
We initially thought refugees would only need housing for up to 7 days, but this will vary according to each family and the broader circumstances (i.e. the case workers’ ability to find permanent, affordable housing). Whether you’re interested in emergency temporary hosting for a couple days or long term hosting, please discuss with the case manager for the resettlement agency you choose to host through. The agencies will work with sponsors to figure out the length of stay.
Where will they be moved to after they stay in temporary housing with us?
The resettlement agencies are trying to get them to cities closest to their communities. South King County, most likely. But they need affordable housing. Lack of affordable housing is an issue, so the agencies are starting to resettle families farther away.
What’s the time frame for arrival?
Time frame varies. Airports are chaotic right now. There is no concrete time frame. So once you sign up, a case worker might get back to you right away — or weeks down the line. Please be patient.
Are there other ways to help?
Absolutely! You can advocate for refugees, volunteer your time, make refugee welcome kits, and/or donate to AHI and allies.
More info here: https://afghanhealth.org/afghanallies
Follow the Viets4Afghans FB page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/Viets4Afghans
You may also want to track the work and needs of our local resettlement agencies, which are accepting donations and applications for hosts and sponsors:
- The Diocese of Olympia’s Refugee Resettlement Office
- Lutheran Community Services Northwest
- World Relief Seattle
- International Rescue Committee of Seattle
- Jewish Family Service
- See Washington’s list of resettlement agencies.
- Outside of Washington? Look up your state’s resettlement agencies and contacts here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/map/find-resources-and-contacts-your-state
How can we follow the Viets4Afghan or 75 Viets for 75 Afghan Refugee Families Project’s work?
Information will be updated constantly as the situation changes in the coming weeks and months.
Contacts: Thanh Tan, Uyen Nguyen, Jefferey Vu, Bao-Tram Do, Dede Tran, Nathan Duong