TACOMA, Wash. - The City of Tacoma voted Tuesday to invest $25,000 toward helping the Afghan refugee effort.
City council unanimously voted to send the money to Lutheran Community Services Northwest, a local organization helping refugees in the area.
David Duea is the president and CEO of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
He said so far this year, the group assisted more than 130 Afghan refugees, with transportation, housing, jobs and many other services. However, with the current Afghan refugee situation, Duea is expecting the need in our area to increase exponentially.
"We need boots on the ground. We need people that are going to, you know, drive to the airport and help set up an apartment. And that’s where we’ll have some volunteer help as well, with furniture and basic needs. But as this ramps up, we’re going to need more full-time people," said Duea.
People like Abdul Wahed Ahmadi are already helping out in the effort.
For more than a decade, Ahmadi worked with the United States Military as a translator. He says when Afghanistan became too dangerous for his family due to his work he relocated to the U.S.
Lutheran Community Services Northwest helped Ahmadi and his family find the services they needed when they got to Western Washington.
Since 2015, Ahmadi has returned that kindness to hundreds of other refugees, working as a case manager with Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
"I came here as a refugee and I know the refugee situation," he said. "I want to share my experience with them."
The $25,000 from the City of Tacoma will go toward hiring people like Ahmadi to help in the next few weeks as more and more refugees are in need of services.
"As an Afghan War Veteran, I know firsthand how wonderful these Afghan partners are, their care for me allowed me to return safely to my family. I and many other Veterans across our community and service members serving at bases across our state are eager to support Afghan families seeking to settle here. This is our mission now and we will finish strong," said Tacoma City Councilmember Robert Thoms who pushed for this effort.
Duea says Lutheran Community Services Northwest is working to raise $1 million to help with housing and other services that incoming refugees will need.
For more information on their work or to get involved click here.
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