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Announcement

IRC Northern California's Emergency Response Fund for new Afghan arrivals

Last updated 

The Soft Landing Fund will directly support Afghan refugee families who have fled their country to resettle in Northern California. 

The United States continues its humanitarian evacuation and relocation of a group of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants to Northern California. SIV evacuees are interpreters, medical personnel and community members who served the U.S. government during the war in Afghanistan. The IRC has resettled more than 16,000 Afghan SIV recipients since Congress established the program in 2006, and is committed to ensuring that these families are given a chance to seek safety and rebuild their lives in the United States.

The IRC Northern California has resettled more than 9,500 SIVs since the program was established in 2008, mostly living in the Sacramento area. Northern California cities are one of the most welcoming in the nation, and Sacramento continues to be a preferred destination because of the city’s vibrant Afghan community. Before the end of the year, the IRC Sacramento alone anticipates the arrival more than 1700 Afghan SIV evacuees.

Thank you for your support!  

Give online to the Soft Landing Fund here 

You may also mail a check, with "Soft Landing Fund" in the memo line to:

Soft Landing Fund, IRC-Northern California, 440 Grand Avenue, Suite 500 | Oakland, CA 94610

For more information, please contact Development Director, Stephanie.Heckman [at] rescue.org (subject: Soft%20Landing%20Fund) (M)Michael.Magnaye [at] rescue.org (ichael Magnaye).

 

 

Additional Information

Soft Landing Fund History

The Need: Refugees only receive a one-time amount of $1,125 per person to cover initial basic costs and this amount is the same regardless of where in the country they are resettled. The majority of refugees arriving in Northern California are coming to join family members who are often not yet financially stable themselves. As a result, the refugees served by the International Rescue Committee typically require additional financial support as they get on their feet in the United States.

A Solution: You can help! The Soft Landing Fund provides housing assistance for refugees who have arrived in the last six months. 100% of your donation will be disbursed to refugee families in need of modest support with rent and utilities after their first 30 days. 

A Story: One benefitting family is the Aryas, who arrived from Afghanistan in October of 2017. The young couple, Abdul & Hadia*, had three small daughters in tow and were joining Hadia’s sister and her family, who had lived in the U.S. for three years. Hadia’s brother-in-law found an open apartment in their Walnut Creek complex. This potential to be close to family support was a relief to the Aryas. A monthly rent of $1,850 felt daunting, but not impossible once they got on their feet. The challenge would be the initial months while they acclimated and Abdul looked for work, hopefully in construction as he was a civil engineer in Afghanistan.  

Through The Soft Landing Fund, they were able to get a total of $3,150 in rental support with the monthly payment decreasing each month. Today, Abdul has a job and is studying for the building standards test that will allow him to work in his field. The two older girls are in school, and Hadia attends ESL and stays home with their toddler.

When asked how The Soft Landing Fund has helped his family, Abdul said, “Starting over in a new country is not easy; everything must begin from zero, and the first six months are a challenging transition period in resettlement. Without the IRC’s financial and emotional support it would not be possible. The housing subsidy was especially helpful for us, covering part of our rent.  I greatly appreciate your efforts for me and my family; it has been more than we expected but very much needed.”

*First names changed to protect the family's safety & privacy.