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From warzones to new homes: Los Angeles welcomes Afghan refugees

With the end of the War in Afghanistan, refugees who chose to resettle have arrived in Los Angeles in addition to other American cities.

By Matthew Royer, Political News Editor

Los Angeles welcomes Afghan refugees following the end of the War in Afghanistan. (Graphic by Don Anthony/The Valley Star)

Fleeing from international turmoil, Afghan refugees enter Los Angeles.

The Fall of Kabul occurred less than one month ago, but an opportunity presents itself for those fleeing Taliban-inhabited Afghanistan to the United States. On Sep. 3, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested $16.7 million from the state legislature in assisting Afghan refugees arriving in California and its communities.

“I am proud that California has been and always will be a place of refuge for those seeking safety or a better life – especially for those who served our country, like many of the Afghan refugees coming to America, and to California,” said Newsom, in a press release. “Today’s announcements and request for funding signal that California stands ready to assist those in need. As the nation’s most diverse state, we don’t simply tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.”

A handful of LA-based organizations are assisting in the state’s efforts and helping Afghans adjust to their new lives in the United States. One of the organizations, the International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA) focuses on resettling refugees in Southern California. According to KNX 1070, the ILHA received 32 Afghan refugees in August, but is expecting up to 500 or more within the upcoming months.

According to IILA’s website, the organization is focused on “securing temporary and long-term housing for refugee families, identifying employment opportunities, and raising funds to assist families with their most urgent needs.”

Within the city, the scarcity of housing for refugees is the biggest obstacle, with organizations looking for donors to offset the cost, as well as finding translators who are fluent in Dari or Pashto who will assist in finding jobs for the new California residents, according to the Daily News.

In partnership with the state, Airbnb has already provided 100 temporary homes for those arriving from Afghanistan across California and in Los Angeles.

Toni Atkins, state Senate president pro tempore, expressed similar concerns as Newsom in support for refugees coming to California.

“These refugees gave our service members help in Afghanistan and it is only fitting we give them hope when they come to California,” said Atkins. “...We are blessed to be in a position in California where we have enough funding to help ease these refugees’ transition into our society, and I am pleased the state is joining with so many other organizations and individuals who are doing the right thing.”

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