Lutheran Social Services Welcomes Afghan Allies
Afghan Allies have begun arriving at Fort Lee, Virginia, and LSSNCA is grateful to play a leading role in welcoming them to our community. As evacuation of our allies before the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on September 11 is critical to ensure their safety, LSSNCA is mobilizing its community supporters to be a part of this historic welcome of 2,500 individuals in less than six weeks! We need your time, talents, and gifts to help provide transportation, housing, and other basic needs to our new neighbors, many of whom have received just a few days’ notice of their departure to the United States.
What is the current situation?
Since 2002, the U.S. government has employed Afghan Allies to serve alongside its troops, diplomats, and other government employees to advance U.S. military and diplomatic goals. The Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program provides a legal path to safety for individuals who worked with U.S. forces and personnel. As a result of their affiliation, these individuals and their families suffer direct threats to their safety as they have become the targets of anti-American violence.
As a result of the continuing violence towards Afghan Allies, the Biden Administration plans to evacuate approximately 2,500 individuals to the U.S. before September 11, 2021.
Once evacuated, Afghan Allies and their families are paroled into the United States and housed briefly at Ft. Lee, located outside of Richmond, VA. Once all immigration paperwork and medical screenings are complete, their status is adjusted to Special Immigrant Visa and then transported to their final destination. SIV holders choose their destinations which are often based on their relationships and family ties.
What does this mean for the D.C. Metro Area?
We expect the majority of evacuees to resettle in the D.C. Metro Area, and be served by the network of local resettlement agencies including LSSNCA. As of July 30, LSSNCA is experiencing a steady and increasing number of SIV referrals to our agency’s three resettlement sites:
- Hyattsville, MD
- Fairfax, VA
- Dale City, VA
The resettlement of Afghan Allies in the D.C. Metro Area is a community-wide effort! LSSNCA is relying on the in-kind support and hospitality of volunteers, community partners, and faith groups to ensure a warm welcome of new neighbors to the D.C. Metro Area.
As of August 16, we have welcomed 68 families totaling nearly 300 people. At least 150 more individuals are expected to be referred to our care within the next week to 10 days. We will continue to keep you posted on this webpage and through our social media platforms.
How does LSSNCA welcome new neighbors?
When a refugee or SIV family is assured with LSSNCA, they are assigned a case manager through the Reception & Placement (R&P) program, which is funded by the U.S. State Department. The R&P program includes initial support, including:
- securing housing for the family
- picking up the family at the airport (or Fort Lee)
- arranging a home setup
- ensuring a culturally appropriate meal and a week’s worth of groceries are ready for the family in the home when they arrive
Over the course of three months, LSSNCA case manager provides continued support with:
- family health screenings
- enrollment in K-12 public school
- enrollment in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes
- applications for benefits (e.g., social security, Medicaid, etc.)
- orientation on topics such as pre-employment, transportation, and cross-cultural adjustment
Along with the R&P, clients receive a wide range of specialized support from LSSNCA including employment services, medical referrals, K-12 educational support, and youth case management, as well as various types of volunteer and mentoring support. Services and continuing program benefits beyond the three-month timeframe requires the partnership of community groups and individual donations.
How can you help?
We've received an outpouring of love and support for Aghan Allies from our community. Thank you for welcoming these families as we see a rapid influx of arrivals and expect this trend to continue over the next few weeks. The list of actions below offers immediate support to our Afghan neighbors.
- DONATE: A gift of any size offers immediate assistance to arriving families which will cover transportation, temporary housing, and provide for the urgent needs of arriving families. Send a check! Please make it out to LSSNCA and mail to:
1730 Rhode Island Ave NW Suite 712
Washington, DC 20036
- ACT: We're calling on volunteers to help provide transportation, set up apartments, and assemble and collect Welcome Home Gift Boxes.
- ADVOCATE: Send a message to President Biden saying you support a full evacuation of Allies from Afghanistan as soon as possible.
If you have additional questions, please contact LSS at or call (202) 723-3000.