DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -For nearly 60 years, Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley (CSSMV) has helped refugees in need from all countries. Now, following the end of the war in Afghanistan and a mass exodus of evacuees, they are preparing again to help with resettlement.
“They need jobs, they need safe and affordable housing, they need someone to help them learn how to navigate public transportation…” said Laura Roesch, CEO of CSSMV.
Currently, 855 Afghan evacuees are scheduled to be relocated to Ohio through the Federal Afghan Placement & Assistance (APA) program. Many of them will settle in Northeast and Southern Ohio.
“[This is]because they already have established communities of Afghan refugees and citizens so that provides a lot of extra support which is really important for successful resettlement for families,” explained Roesch.
According to Ericka Curran, a current professor at University of Dayton’s Law School and a former refugee attorney, many of these evacuees do not have refugee status because of the crisis nature of their situation
“A lot of them are potential refugees but they were evacuated so quickly they didn’t get that official legal status,” explained Curran. “I suspect that Congress will need to create some specific, helpful act to help legalize them…otherwise they have to go through the traditional asylum process that is quite lengthy.”
Curran says this is an unprecedented situation in the United States. Once these evacuees are processed and vetted, they will eventually have refugee status which will allow them to access more resources and assistance through the government.
Roesch says these resources are already allotted for moments like this to help refugees adjust after losing everything.
“We consider the refugees to be a cultural and an economic asset. They become employed quickly, they revitalize neighborhoods they maintain jobs and become part of our Dayton community,” she shared.
In the meantime, CSSMV is in need of volunteers, tutors, and other people willing to help these people in need.
“What I am working on with some students here at the University of Dayton Law is actually happening some Afghan lawful permanent residents and citizens file humanitarian applications to bring their family members to the United States,” said Curran.
For more information on Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, click here.