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Help needed as Cincinnati preps for Afghan evacuees

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Posted at 6:51 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 21:12:11-04

CINCINNATI — Up to 50 people escaping violence in Afghanistan will soon resettle in Cincinnati, joining the community here as hundreds of others find new homes in Dayton, Columbus, Toledo, Akron and Cleveland.

Shafaq Hassan, who came to Ohio from Afghanistan in 2016, said these families have likely left everything they own behind. They'll depend on Cincinnati to become their safe haven.

“That's a big shock for them,” he said. “They are coming here by rush, probably. They left all of their stuff over there — their family, parents, mom, and dad. Some of them, I heard, left their child behind."

Those who come to Cincinnati will receive the assistance of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio.

“Stepping into a new place for the first time, leaving everything you know behind you and having so little with you, it takes a community to do this,” said CEO Tony Stieritz.

Stieritz explained most of them will likely stay in housing on an Indiana military base first. Any day, Catholic Charities could receive the call that they’re coming here.

“We have no information at this point about when they would arrive and who they would be, so we stand ready,” he said.

Catholic Charities will provide furnished apartments or homes as well as connecting them to transportation, food and health care. The organization will also help them find jobs. The arrivals must get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

They will not qualify for many resources; however, children and pregnant women are eligible for Medicaid. Children can also qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

If you have an affordable apartment, especially one near transportation lines, Catholic Charities needs your help. They also need household items, furniture and money donations.

Call 513-672-3710 if you can donate.