Eastern Michigan University will host about 10 refugee families from Afghanistan in campus apartments in collaboration with Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County.
JFSWC has been providing housing and services for refugee families throughout Washtenaw County. Several families are housed in extended-stay hotels after processing, medical tests, and background checks were completed, according to EMU.
The university was approached by JFSWC due to a “critical need for living space for newly arrived Afghan families,” according to EMU.
“Affordable housing is a huge challenge in this area,” Anya Abramzon, the executive director at JFS, said in a written statement. “As we welcome over 300 Afghan newcomers to our community, we are so grateful to EMU for doing their part to help us support this humanitarian crisis.”
The families will be required to follow all COVID-19 and housing regulations by the university, including vaccination of eligible family members, mask-wearing, COVID daily passes, and testing, according to EMU.
“Most of us can't imagine the challenges and hardships these families have experienced,” EMU President James Smith said in a written statement. “I'm tremendously gratified that Eastern is able to partner with JFSWC and support its critical resettlement work for these families.”
The families received stipends to help pay for their relocation and housing costs, which will be charged at the same rate students pay. The housing arrangement is expected to last until April 2022.
EMU students will be presented with a number of volunteer opportunities with JFSWC, including getting the apartments ready and mentoring young family members, according to EMU.
The increase of Afghan refugees follows the rise of the Taliban after the U.S. military abruptly departed after 20 years of war, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The U.S. government said that about 50,000 Afghan refugees are expected to be brought to the United States.
Information about JFSWC including volunteer opportunities and donations can be found on their website.