Supporting housing needs for Afghan refugees resettling in Western Washington

More Afghan refugees will be arriving to the Seattle area and a key challenge in the transition is finding safe and stable housing.

The Resettlement Director at World Relief understands exactly what refugee families will be experiencing in those first several weeks.

"I’m originally from Chad. It’s in Central Africa and I came to the U.S. in 2006 as an asylum seeker," said Medard Ngueita. "For me, it’s very encouraging, but also a humbling thing to be part of it, and to tell them my personal story, my own struggles, and how they can thrive in this new community."

Ngueita said World Relief Seattle supported him in his transition to the U.S. and he eventually got employment at the agency in 2012. He worked various positions before becoming the person overseeing the resettlement of refugees through the agency in Kent.

"It is a heartbreaking situation with what is going on in Afghanistan, but we are also blessed to be on this side to provide a welcoming space for families," said Nguieta.

The agency works hand-in-hand with host home volunteers, landlords, rentals, hotels and even Airbnb hosts who want make a positive impact.

"Some of those qualification requirements from the get-go refugees cannot compete against," said Nguieta. "Things like having a rental history, having an income, having a stable job, having good credit — we’re talking about people who are just entering the country.  For apartment managers and landlords, this is a great opportunity to do something that is socially responsible and that can impact our community."

There are several requirements to becoming a host home volunteer. Applicants must undergo a federal background check, volunteer training and a home inspection at World Relief.

"It just broke my heart and what can we do? We have an extra room and bathroom that we just don’t really use and I thought well, so I asked my husband this morning after I saw that and he was just like immediately yes we can host," said Lenette Hulme of Renton.

Hulme said she believes hosting a refugee family will be a rewarding experience for her family.

"I think it will enrich our lives as well," said Hulme. "Just showing our kids, you help people when they are hurting."

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a host home volunteer, click here to find the application at World Relief Seattle.

The Diocese of Olympia Refugee Resettlement Office, Lutheran Community Services Northwest, International Rescue Committee and Jewish Family Service are also refugee resettlement agencies in our region.


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