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Afghan Allies FAQs

Questions About LSSNCA Operations and Resettlement

How can I make the greatest impact?

Thank you for asking! A financial impact, no matter how large or small, makes a huge impact on arriving families. By financially supporting our Afghan Allies, you provide for their greatest needs and essential costs upon arrival including immediate housing, supplies, transportation, and food. You can make a donation here.

How many Afghan refugees are you expecting to resettle in the D.C. Metro area?

As of August 26, LSSNCA is currently receiving approximately 80 resettlement referrals per week. We anticipate serving about 850 Afghan refugees between July 31 through the end of September 2021.  

What sources of funding does LSSNCA receive to support new neighbors?

LSSNCA receives funding through state and federal contracts to support new neighbors in initial resettlement and longer-term integration. As this funding is limited, we rely on community-based support including individual monetary donations, public and private foundation support, and in-kind contributions. In particular, in their journey towards self-sufficiency, one of the greatest needs for new neighbors is rental assistance given the high cost of living in the D.C. Metro Area. 

What is LSSNCA’s COVID-19 protocol for clients, staff, and volunteers?

The LSSNCA team is required to wear masks and be vaccinated (or have a negative COVID-19 test if they have a reasonable accommodation.) We kindly ask volunteers to follow this same protocol for in-person volunteering opportunities. As many of our services depend on in-person interaction with clients, we follow COVID-19 safety protocols on site to prioritize the safety and well-being of clients, staff, and volunteers.  

We are also supporting clients and engaging many volunteers virtually! Administrative volunteers are supporting our services behind the scenes, and we will continue to rely on virtual volunteers to make our work possible. Additionally, we encourage volunteers to work with families in virtual tutoring, mentoring, and ESL practice. 

Why is temporary housing needed?

In the waiting period of assurance with our agency and securing an apartment, families often live temporarily with relatives for a few days or weeks. In the event this is not possible, we are placing individuals and families in hotel suites, Air BnBs, and we are looking for individuals and communities who might have an apartment or mother-in-law suite available with a separate entrance, kitchen, and restroom(s).


Questions Concerning Volunteers & Partners

What are the most immediate volunteer needs for newly arrived Afghan refugee families, and how can I get involved?

Currently, our most immediate volunteer needs fluctuate on a weekly basis, for example, organizing home setups for newly arrived families and permanent housing opportunities in Northern Virginia.  

We are currently vetting and assigning volunteers to assist case managers in enrolling refugee families in school, applying for housing and benefits, and transporting supplies. We are working with the Afghan community to organize volunteers for housing research, donation deliveries, and coordination between other resettlement agencies and supporting organizations.  

Longer term, we will be engaging volunteers in opportunities to support clients’ adjustment, integration, and well-being in their new communities. These roles with LSSNCA include refugee youth and family mentors, Good Neighbor Partners, and English as a Second Language (ESL) conversation partners. 

Feel free to continue checking our Volunteer webpage as we update this with evolving volunteer needs and updates. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to connecting with you very soon! 

I have signed up to volunteer with LSSNCA. When can I expect to be contacted?

We are so glad you are interested in donating your time and talents to serve our program participants Due to a high volume of emails, we appreciate your patience with any delay you may experience in the volunteer process.  

We are standing up new processes to onboard volunteers and will reach out to you soon with details for an upcoming LSSNCA volunteer training in September. If you plan to work directly with clients, please expect to go through a standard volunteer background check process, as well as additional driver vetting if you plan to transport.

I am interested in becoming a foster parent for an Afghan Refugee. What is the process?

LSSNCA recruits and trains foster parents to open their hearts and their homes to youth fleeing violence and persecution and who do not have a legal guardian in the United States, known as unaccompanied refugee minors. LSSNCA is referred unaccompanied refugee minors by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. We serve all children referred to us and cannot guarantee the country of origin of youth who will be placed with our licensed foster parents. There are many refugee youth that come to the United States from all over the world that need and deserve loving homes.

Becoming a URM foster parent takes several hours of training on Refugee youth and their needs, child development, behavior management, and parenting. Foster Care parents also require a  police background check, child protective registry clearance, and a home study. This usually takes 60-90 days but LSSNCA may be able to expedite licenses in VA if we need to place Afghan youth quicker.  We encourage you to visit our foster care page and sign-up for our next orientation to learn more about the process of becoming a foster parent. 

My team has signed up to organize a home setup. When can we expect to be contacted?

We have received an overwhelmingly positive community response, and so far 388 teams have signed up to organize a home setup for newly arriving refugee families in the D.C. Metro Area! We are matching multiple teams with a home setup opportunity every day. We will contact your team as soon as a home setup opportunity becomes available based on your team’s preferences (e.g., location). In the meantime, you are welcome to begin collecting and purchasing furniture and supplies so your team is ready to mobilize quickly once you are contacted. Thank you for your patience and interest in welcoming Afghan Allies in such a special way!  

My team has signed up to co-sponsor a refugee family as a Good Neighbor Partner. When can we expect to be contacted?

Thank you for your interest in co-sponsoring a refugee family! We are currently emphasizing home setups (considered “Level 3” as part of GNP) since home setups are currently a critical need due to the heavy flow of arrivals. We plan to host training and onboarding for groups interested in Level 1 and 2 in the coming weeks, and will contact you with training dates and times. Please check out this webpage for more details and to sign up for the GNP Program. 

In the meantime, we encourage you to mobilize your group for a home setup for a newly arrived Afghan refugee family. If your group is interested, please fill out the Afghan Allies Home Setup Interest Form. 

I have signed up to provide a homestay. When can I expect to be contacted?

We are currently working on standing up a homestay screening process for transitional housing for Afghan Allies. After you fill out the form, please be on the lookout for an email from an LSSNCA staff member in the coming days.  

Please note that will likely have strict requirements for homestays to accommodate the needs of incoming families. If for some reason your homestay offer is declined, please note our gratitude and we encourage you to explore other opportunities to get involved. 

I am a high school student and want to support refugees. Can I volunteer with LSSNCA?

Yes! You are welcome to sign up as a volunteer through our Volunteer webpage. We welcome high school volunteers as tutors in our tutoring program as well as engage in service opportunities such as organizing donations throughout the year and tabling for annual World Refugee Day. Additionally, middle and high school volunteers have organized in-kind donation drives for LSSNCA families with their family, friends, and peers! You are welcome to contact us with any other ideas you may have to volunteer! 


Questions About Donations

How can I donate supplies to our new neighbors?

We are collecting specific in-kind donations for arriving Afghan Allies and their families including laptops, smartphones, gift cards, and other daily essentials. See a full list of in-kind donations and urgent needs here. If you don't have any of our listed in-kind donations to give, don't worry! Please shop our Amazon wish lists instead. 

What are the most critical in-kind donation needs for Afghan refugees?

The most immediate donation needs for newly arriving families are posted on our In-kind Donations webpage. We encourage you to check this page regularly as we will continue to provide updates as in-kind needs evolve.  

Can I donate items not listed on the in-kind donation page?

At this time, LSSNCA does not have the capacity to welcome in-kind gifts other than those items found on our In-kind Donations webpage. This page lists all the items that are most needed for arriving families. We encourage you to check this page often as our most needed items may change day to day as incoming in-donations fluctuate.  

Where can I drop off my in-kind donations?

Currently, our storage drop-off locations are changing week to week. Generous congregations throughout the D.C. Metro Area have donated their space as temporary storage facilities. As one space becomes full, we may change our drop-off center to another location. Please check our In-kind Donations webpage for location and time information before planning a donation delivery.  


Other Questions

I do not live in the D.C. Metro Area. How can I get involved?

Although you may not live in the D.C. Metro Area, you can still help welcome Afghan Allies and their families. We encourage financial donations of all sizes to help supplement resettlement expenses such as temporary housing, food, transportation, and other daily needs. You may also mail gift cards to our DC office. Gift cards are given directly to our new neighbors so they may buy groceries and toiletries as needed after their arrival. A list of gift card requests can be found on our In-kind Donations webpage.  

Are their Afghan Allies resettling near me? I do not live in the D.C. Metro Area.

LSSNCA is one of the refugee resettlement agencies in the D.C. Metro Area. We resettle refugee families in Northern Virginia and Maryland. We work with a network of resettlement agencies across the nation that welcome new neighbors to the United States. The Refugee Council USA has a great list of resettlement agencies by state. We encourage you to contact your local resettlement agency to volunteer or learn more about resettlement in your hometown.  

I am an SIV in Afghanistan (or know someone who is) and I need help? What do I do?

There are thousands of people who support you and your family as we encourage the U.S. Government to continue evacuations. LSSNCA is referred SIV cases through the Special Immigrant Visa Program and our national partners at LIRS.  We are asking all those in need of assistance regarding a Special Immigrant Visa, to please visit lirs.org/gethelp or email resettlement@lirs.org

Additional Questions?

If you have additional questions, please contact us at afghanallies@lssnca.org


Welcome Afghan Allies Town Hall 8.26.21

Watch our latest Town Hall Webinar. Senator Mark Warner, LIRS President & CEO, Krish O'Mara Vignarajah, and LSSNCA CEO, Kristyn Peck share a detailed overview of the refugee resettlement and SIV holder process from a national to a local level perspective. The final hour of the town hall was reserved for your questions. 

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