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NAA working with Homeland Security on Afghan resettlement effort; learn how to help

Synopsis

The United States Department of Homeland Security is asking apartment association members in key areas to assist with efforts to resettle Afghan refugees. Learn more about how the National Apartment Association is assisting with this effort.


Key takeaways

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked the National Apartment Association to assist with the department’s Operation: Allies Welcome resettlement program.
  • The resettlement effort needs available rental housing units for families and individuals, and is requesting certain considerations for participants.
  • The refugees have been vetted by DHS and will be connected with resettlement NGOs paid by the Department of State to ensure they have wraparound support, including help getting kids in school, basic documents and accessing services.
  • Seven Texas cities—Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio—are included in a list of target markets for relocation because of the local employment market, cultural ties and potential housing availability.

Following the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, a large number of Afghan refugees are in the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has asked the National Apartment Association to assist with the department’s Operation: Allies Welcome resettlement program.

The resettlement effort needs available rental housing units for Afghan families and individuals. Seven Texas cities are included in a list of target markets for relocation because of the local employment market, cultural ties and potential housing availability. Those cities are Abilene, Amarillo, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.

There are four core housing requirements for this effort:

  1. Identifying units that are available immediately.
  2. Waiving normal requirements like credit checks, background checks and down payments (related information on this below).
  3. Willingness on behalf of property owners to provide rent forgiveness for the first two-three months if necessary. That said, DHS does not anticipate rent forgiveness to be necessary: Afghans will likely have the means (through their income and federal stipends) to pay their rent in full.
  4. Provide up to a 1-year lease.

According to DHS, these Afghans have been fully vetted from a medical and security perspective and are fully up-to-date on all vaccines. The refugees will be connected with resettlement NGOs paid by the Department of State to ensure they have wraparound support, including help getting kids in school, basic documents and accessing services. This chart includes details on some of these organizations with locations around the country.

NAA will be reaching out to some large rental housing providers individually to see what stock of units they may have available and what they are able to contribute to the cause. At the same time, NAA has advised DHS that rental housing in some target markets may be in high demand.

DHS has agreed to host a conference call to discuss this effort in more detail with any affiliates or individual firms who are interested in assisting this effort. Look for more information on that very soon from NAA.

For additional information, or to offer assistance, contact NAA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Greg Brown.

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