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Announcement

Landlords: Renting to Refugees and Afghan Evacuees

Last updated 

After years of slowed refugee arrivals, the IRC is responding to unprecedented numbers of new clients who fled violence in Afghanistan. IRC expects to welcome thousands of Afghan nationals this year - we have already resettled more refugees since September than in the entire year before. 

You can help your community by renting your property to these newcomers as they rebuild their lives. 

Resettled family stands in front of their home in the United States
Photo: Andrew Oberstadt/IRC

As one of nine refugee resettlement agencies, the IRC supports newly arrived refugees by providing immediate aid, including food and shelter. Through a network of staff members and volunteers, the IRC provides access to the tools of self-reliance: housing, job placement and employment skills, clothing, medical attention, education, English language classes and community orientation. Each resettlement office serves as a free, one–stop center for refugees’ needs during their pivotal first months in the U.S. In addition to assisting refugees to integrate into communities around the U.S., the IRC’s refugee resettlement network provides comprehensive immigration legal services to assist refugees and asylees on their path to becoming permanent residents and U.S. citizens.

Benefits of renting to refugees 

  • Gain access to qualified potential tenants, which can contribute to fewer vacancies and shorter vacancy periods.
  • Clients receive initial financial support from the IRC’s local resettlement office.
  • Tenants have access to case management support and interpretation services. Tenants understand a lease, and understand their obligations related to maintenance, payments, security deposit, etc.
  • In the event of a misunderstanding or concern, IRC staff will work with clients to clarify their roles and responsibilities as tenants.
  • The opportunity to make a difference by giving refugees and Afghan evacuees a safe environment, allowing them to build a rental history and establish themselves in the United States.

Interested in renting to a refugee? Complete the form and a staff member will contact you to get started.

If you're interested in learning more, fill out this quick form and a staff member near you will contact you to share more information and help you get started. 

The IRC's role and responsibilities

  • IRC will match refugees with available housing units that meet their needs and government standards.
  • Support clients in the leasing process.
  • Teach clients about terms and rules of lease agreements, including when and how to pay rent.
  • Coach clients on their responsibilities under lease agreements while respecting clients’ self-determination and decision making.
  • Provide household supplies and furnishings for clients.
  • Help clients start utilities and phone services.
  • Train clients on home safety, emergency procedures and general housing safety practices.
  • Work with landlords when issues arise related to the condition and use of apartments.
  • In certain cases as needed, provide emergency rental assistance for clients if funds are available.
Resettled couple sits in the doorway of their new home

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are refugees, SIVs, parolees, asylees and asylum-seekers?

Refugees are men, women and children who have fled their countries of origin to escape harm on account of political instability, armed conflict, or other threats of violence or persecution.

Afghan Special Immigrants are Afghans who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Mission in Afghanistan or the International Security Assistance Force, such as translators and interpreters, who have been granted permanent resident status in the U.S. through Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program.

Afghan parolees are Afghans escaping the violence and persecution who were granted "humanitarian parole"   to enter and remain in the United States for up to two years as part of Operation Allies Welcome.

Asylees are people who, like refugees, have fled persecution in their country of nationality and who have sought and received protection after entering the United States.

An asylum-seeker is a person who has left their country of nationality to escape persecution and whose request for protection has yet to be adjudicated by the US government.

How does a refugee qualify for resettlement in the United States?

To qualify for refugee resettlement in the United States, a person must come from a country or belong to a group designated by the US Department of State. Individuals must demonstrate that they have suffered persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Specially trained officers from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conduct in-person interviews to adjudicate individual requests for protection in the United States. Applicants for refugee status undergo comprehensive biometric screening and interagency security background checks prior to being admitted to the US.

Why are people from Afghanistan arriving?

The U.S. government began transporting vulnerable Afghans, including Afghans who assisted the U.S., to safety beginning in July and August of 2021 as part of the Operation Allies Welcome. These individuals have been vetted by numerous U.S. agencies and found to be in need of protection, often because of their service to the U.S goverrnment.

How did these Afghan individuals and families end up in my city?

Generally speaking, they came here due to their family ties in the area. Following an initial period in a safe temporary U.S. government location outside of Afghanistan, these individuals and families typically first spent time in U.S. government facilities to undergo required government processes, including for immigration paperwork and medical screenings. These individuals and families were then connected to a service provider like the IRC based on their family ties or the availability of critical services.

How does IRC help newly arrived refugees and other displaced people?

The IRC provides case management services to newly arrived refugees starting at the airport pick up. Initial services include housing, furnishings, food, clothing, community orientation, enrollment of school-aged children, and referrals to other ongoing services for refugees’ first 30 to 90 days in the U.S. Refugees acquire the knowledge and skills needed to adapt to life in the United States and adapt to their new communities thanks to cultural orientation provided by the IRC. This includes a particular emphasis on learning English and finding employment to enable self-sufficiency. IRC staff also educates clients on general housing and home safety practices and emergency procedures. The orientation, education and coaching are all delivered with cultural and language competency and interpretation is available for all refugees.

How do refugees pay rent and what documentation can refugees submit with their rental applications?

Refugees demonstrate perseverance and determination. They repeatedly show strong desire to create healthy homes and prosperous futures. Refugees are culturally diverse and capable community members who are eager to establish themselves in and contribute to American society. Refugees do not arrive in the US with the documentation the average American has, such as a Social Security card, credit/rental history and employment history in the United States. They can however, provide evidence of legal status, reliable income if employed, and agency support to help resolve any tenant-landlord issues that might arise. 

Who do I contact if my property management staff have questions or need to communicate an issue about an IRC client staying at my rental property?

IRC case workers and housing logistics staff at your local city will be assisting refugees placed in your rental property. These staff are available to answer any questions and provide additional support to your property management staff. Interpretation is also available through IRC. Please visit our where we work page for local contact information.