By Pinkston News Service
WASHINGTON, DC—(Pinkston News Service)—As the U.S. continues to resettle Afghans who aided U.S. military efforts during the 20-year war in Afghanistan, a number of corporate, nonprofit, and private sector groups are helping Afghan evacuees secure the resources needed to resettle in America. PenFed Foundation for Military Heroes has raised nearly $2 million to support refugees through its Afghan Rescue and Resettlement Program.
Launched in November of 2021, The Foundation’s Afghan Rescue and Resettlement Program was originally started to support female Afghan special forces operators and their families, “who, despite enormous cultural challenges, played an essential role in supporting the United States and our military,” said PenFed Credit Union President/CEO and PenFed Foundation CEO James Schenck in a press release announcing the program.
According to the Foundation’s website, the program has since expanded to assist “vetted Afghan families who bravely fought alongside U.S. service members.” The funds raised go toward providing food, clothing, housing, transportation, childcare, and other services. And the program has also helped hire American veterans to provide support for Afghans.
The PenFed Foundation (penfedfoundation.org) is the nonprofit arm of PenFed Credit Union, the nation’s second largest federal credit union, serving 2.8 million members nationwide.
Following the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan last August, tens of thousands of Afghans, many of whom served as interpreters and medical personnel in support of our war efforts after 9/11, have been admitted to the U.S. Some were granted humanitarian parole and refugee status, while others were admitted through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.
Upon relocating to the U.S., the federal government’s resettlement program provides them and their families around $1,000 in cash benefits to cover initial costs. But a critical shortage of housing availability and the growing cost of living in many parts of the country are making it difficult for Afghans who resettle in the U.S. to find reasonable housing and employment, according to the State Department.
According to the latest Lead Inspector General Report to Congress, “approximately 74,000 Afghan nationals have come to the United States as part of OAW [Operation Allies Welcome], the largest number of foreign evacuees arriving at one time in nearly 50 years.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement also provides a resource and contact page to support Afghans, which includes a list of national resettling agencies.