Afghan Emergency Relief Fund

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Afghan Community Support Initiative

Population served: Afghan community members who reside in San Diego County who are impacted by this humanitarian crisis. Including children, youth, individuals, and families who are established residents as well as new arrivals who are entering as refugees, special immigrant visa holders or humanitarian parolees.
Priorities:

  1. Provide emergency cash aid to Afghan individuals and families who are at risk of homelessness and/or food insecurity, and who have financial barriers that prevent or limit access to services and supports that advance resettlement and self-sufficiency and wellness.
  2. Support established community-based providers who are stepping up to provide case management, legal assistance, advocacy, mental health, and safety net services to and in partnership with the Afghan community.
  3. Build the capacity of the newly established Afghan ethnic community based organization to provide services and support to Afghan individuals and families.
  4. Continue to engage with public and private stakeholders to identify and address systemic problems relating to housing, employment, education, and healthcare access.

 

Funding Opportunities and Need

Afghan Emergency Relief Fund

Goal 1: Provide emergency financial assistance to at least 100 families/500 individuals by December 2021.

Estimated Cost: $300,000

Summary: The San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition Afghan Emergency Relief Fund will be administered by Partnership for Advancement of New Americans (PANA). 100% of donations will be expended on direct expenses of Afghan individuals and families such as cost of security deposits, rent, food, furnishings, application fees and transportation needs. Priority will be given to Humanitarian Parolees who have limited access to resources, those who are no longer eligible for assistance, or who are housing insecure or unsheltered.

Resources will be distributed by the Coalition member organizations who have Afghan staff and are in a position to identify individuals and families in need (PANA, License to Freedom, and Afghan Cultural Community Center). Protocols that determine and document need and use of funding will be followed.

Cultural and Community Support

Goal 2: Support the start-up and operational costs of the Afghan Cultural Community Center for 16 months (through to December 2022). 

Estimated Cost: $275,000

Summary: The Afghan Community Cultural Center (ACCC) was established in 2021 with the mission to provide social, educational, and cultural services that support the success, health and well-being of Afghans. Based upon experience with other newcomer populations, SDRCC knows the valuable role that such ethnic community-based organizations play in supporting acculturation, success and long-term stability. Currently ACCC is 100% volunteer-led and without a physical facility.

Resources are needed for general operating and staffing costs of the ACCC for 16 months to include a full-time Director/Program Coordinator ($80,000), Youth Program Coordinator ($65,000) technology, rent and utilities costs ($100,000) and program expenses ($30,000). Services provided by the ACCC are expected to include: Crisis Counseling and Emergency Relief; System Navigation; Gender and Youth Focused Support Groups; Community Education Workshops; Cultural Activities. As a member of the SDRCC, ACCC will have access to professional and leadership development, backbone support and mentorship from UC San Diego Refugee Health Unit, Nash & Associates and other member Executive Directors.

 

Goal 3: Support Youth Development programming for at least 30 Afghan youth (15 males and 15 females) for 12 months. 

Estimated Cost: $100,000

Summary: There is a priority need to provide supportive services to Afghan youth who have recently entered the U.S. and who will benefit from social, academic, career planning, and emotional support. License to Freedom is currently operating a State funded mentoring program for girls ages 14 to 18 from Syria and Iraq. License to Freedom would like to develop a similar program for Afghan girls, and to work with ACCC to develop a program for Afghan boys. The cost to replicate the current program for one year and to serve 15 youth is $50,000 and includes $200 per youth to cover costs associated with field trips, a $300 per youth stipend, as well as a stipend for young adult mentors (also Afghan). The program follows a Positive Youth Development framework and includes: case management; individual and small group mentoring; life skills and career development training; and cultural exploration activities.

 

Mental Health Services

Goal 4: Deliver linguistically and culturally competent mental health support within school and community settings to at least 150 individuals and families for 16 months (through to December 2022).

Estimated Cost: $250,000

Summary: Two of San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition members, License to Freedom and United Women of East Africa Support Team (UWEAST) are currently funded to provide Crisis Counseling and other mental health services to the Afghan community. A total of two part time Crisis Counselors, one full time Case Manager and one full time therapist are currently engaged in providing services. These staff are funded through a variety of sources including State CalMHSA/CalHOPE, the County District Attorney’s Office and Foundations. While some leverage is possible, these programs do have some restrictions (COVID-19 crisis or domestic violence needs) and are time limited (CalMHSA funding will end in January 2022).

License to Freedom is seeing increased demand for services both from individuals and organizations. For example El Cajon School District has requested that the organization to provide on site mental health support (individual and group) to Afghan students and families, including newcomers, students who have family in Afghanistan, and also to support the students who are currently still trapped in Afghanistan and who it is hoped will be returning to the United States soon. To more fully meet the mental health needs of the Afghan community, and to expand to provide school based services will require three additional staff: two Crisis Counselors (would include Afghan staff transferred from UWEAST) and one Therapist.

 

Legal Services

Goal 5:  Provide legal services to at least 50 Afghan refugees and humanitarian parolees.

Estimated Cost: $75,000

Summary: Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) has been providing legal services to the refugee community since 2019 supported by a full time attorney and in coordination with the larger legal community. There is an urgent need to expand capacity to deliver consultation, case review and representation to Afghan refugees and humanitarian parolees; and develop a rapid response legal infrastructure in San Diego to respond to the growing, urgent needs of our Afghan communities. It is expected that assistance in adjustment of status from SIV or HP to green card holder would represent the majority of the work.

 

SDRCC Organizations and Contacts:

San Diego Refugee Communities Coalition, contact is Valerie Nash. She can be reached at valerienash5818@gmail.com or 619-861-8362

Afghan Community Cultural Center, contact is Deputy Director Mumtaz Momand. He can be reached at mumtazz_momand@yahoo.com or 619-277-3255

License to Freedom, contact is Executive Director Dilkhwaz Ahmed. She can be reached at dilkhwaz@licensetofreedom.org or 619-401-2800

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, contact is Executive Director Ramla Sahid. She can be reached at ramla@panasd.org or 619-363-6939

There are several other community-based and faith-based organizations working in support of the Afghan community in San Diego, including those with whom SDRCC is currently partnering:

Borderlands for Equity

Casa Cornelia Law Center

El Cajon Helping Refugees/Second Families

Masjid Al Salaam

The Islamic Center of San Diego