Gul Rahim, 36, lives in a house in St. Paul with his wife and 11 children. Rahim’s oldest child is 17 years old and his youngest is 14 months. Rahim is struggling to find a job to pay rent after his lease ends. Credit: Hibah Ansari | Sahan Journal

To continue reading this article and others for free, please sign up for our newsletter.

Sahan Journal publishes deep, reported news for and with immigrants and communities of color—the kind of stories you won’t find anywhere else.

Unlock our in-depth reporting by signing up for our free newsletter.

Help us reach 50 new sustainers on Giving Tuesday!

A generous group of donors is matching all donations to our end-of-year campaign. They’ve pledged $50,000 to match donations dollar-for-dollar through December 31. Become a Sahan Journal supporter now and double the impact of your gift.

$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Nearly 600 Afghan families face a housing crisis after six months living in Minnesota.

The federal government provides Afghan refugees six months of rent. Refugees are required to make their own rental payments after that, but many face hurdles obtaining employment due to language barriers, unfamiliarity with job searches, and lack of transportation.

Refugee resettlement organizations like the Afghan Cultural Society are working to ensure that Afghan families have housing in the Twin Cities despite rising rent rates.

Minnesota has welcomed more than 1,200 Afghans since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August. The state coordinated a robust emergency plan to house Afghan refugees. Now, they’re developing a plan with the federal government and local agencies to sustain housing for them.

Here’s how you can help Afghans in Minnesota struggling with housing.

Employment

Most landlords require proof of income to renew leases after an Afghan household’s six-month prepaid lease is up. If you are, or know of, an Afghan refugee who has not been connected to an employment counselor, email Patricia Fenrick, the workforce development and outreach specialist for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, at patricia.fenrick@state.mn.us.

Housing

Community-based organizations and resettlement agencies working with Afghan refugees in need of rental assistance can contact ZACAH, a local charity organization, through an application form to receive two months of rent.

Community-based organizations and resettlement agencies working with Afghan refugees in need of rental assistance can contact ZACAH, a local charity organization, through an application form to receive two months of rent.

Landlords interested in renting to Afghan refugees can fill out a form with the International Institute, a local resettlement agency. Agencies are looking for 3- or 4-bedroom units, but all low-rent housing is welcome.

The Afghan Cultural Society is accepting monetary donations to help families pay for rent when federal assistance is up. If you have information about potential affordable housing options for refugees, email info@afghanculturalsociety.org. 

ZACAH also accepts monetary donations. County employees, social workers, donors, or advocates can find more information about how to support Afghan refugees through ZACAH by emailing contact@zacah.org or calling (651) 456-8891 or (612) 361-9976.

Donate

Alight, an international refugee resettlement agency with a local office, has created an Amazon Wishlist of items that are delivered directly to families. Alight is also collecting new and gently used furniture and household items. Contact action@wearealight.org for more information.

Volunteer

The Salvation Army is searching for volunteers to support Afghan arrivals. Email Suzi.Kissinger@usc.salvationarmy.org to get involved.

ServeMinnesota is looking for AmeriCorps members to support Afghan refugees for two paid positions. More information can be found here.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans hosts weekly Afghan Evacuee Community Roundtable meetings. Email anjuli.cameron@state.mn.us if you would like to attend the virtual meetings.

Sahan Journal will be updating this resource list. If you have initiatives or fundraisers to suggest, questions about community needs, or story ideas, please reach out to us at hansari@sahanjournal.com.

Hibah Ansari is a reporter for Sahan Journal and corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. She was named the 2022 Young Journalist of...