Creating Welcome in Georgia
Like many others in our community, I’ve spent the last few months rallying support for Afghan refugees and hoping to build on that momentum to make Georgia a more welcoming place for all refugees and asylum seekers. I coordinated a donation drive of furniture, hygiene products, and cleaning supplies with my church congregation in August and September. We filled the entire back of my car, plus two truckloads of furniture -- much of which immediately went to apartments that were being set-up. It was great to see so many people eagerly seeking ways to get involved.
Through the donation drive, I was able to meet John Arnold from The Welcome Co-Op. John and The Welcome Co-Op partner with Georgia’s refugee resettlement agencies to secure and set-up apartments for incoming refugees. John mentioned how challenging it has been to find housing for the latest influx of refugees. For more details on this challenge, please read this Washington Post article on Clarkston, Georgia and the housing crisis.
Supply of affordable housing seems to be the primary challenge, but there are many other challenges facing refugees when securing housing. Many landlords will not rent to refugees who cannot prove credit history and provide official documentation, including a drivers license and/or social security card, which take time to secure. Thankfully, John has great relationships with multiple apartment managers in Clarkston, who have had great experiences with renting to refugees.
If you have had a positive experience renting to refugees in Georgia or elsewhere, we'd love to interview you and use your story to inspire others to do the same. Please contact [email protected] to share your housing story.
Just as citizens in Europe and the U.K. have heroically supported displaced Ukrainians by opening up their homes or securing other housing, assisting with school enrollments, employment needs, and language learning, Americans now have the opportunity via the Welcome.us Sponsor Circles program to directly help newly arrived Ukrainians. The United States has committed to welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians temporarily for a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them.
Learn how you can support Ukraine relief efforts and local legislation giving access to education for resettled refugees
If you have a story, experience or opinion to share in support of our Afghan allies, we ask you to share it to help us demonstrate public support for legislation that supports and aids these individuals and families.