Welcoming Afghans: Community Sponsorship
What is the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program?
The Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) Program was put into motion in late August by the State Department and launched on September 1st. Most Afghan nationals will be paroled into the United States through the APA program. This program will offer temporary legal status in the United States and expedited work authorization. Individuals will be resettled with existing refugee resettlement agencies and connected to various means of support for a 30 to 90-day service period. During this program period, resettlement agencies will provide basic core services that are similar to core services under the United States Refugee Admissions Program. This includes, but is not limited to, airport reception, accessing safe and appropriate housing, providing adequate food supplies, accessing seasonal clothing, accessing health care and other public benefits, as eligible, assistance with school enrollment for minors, cultural orientation and limited financial assistance. The APA program is expected to serve over 50,000 Afghan parolees across the United States.
What do Afghans receive from the APA Program
Afghan parolees will receive initial relocation and support services during the APA program service period to support their resettlement into their new communities. Services provided through the APA program include:
- Reception services
- Decent, safe and sanitary housing
- Household items and furniture
- Culturally appropriate, ready-to-eat meal upon arrival
- Adequate food supplies
- Seasonally appropriate clothing
- Home visits
- School enrollment
- Selective Service registration, as applicable
- Transportation support
- Cultural Orientation
- Assistance enrolling in English Language Training
- Assistance enrolling in employment services, as appropriate and eligible
- Assistance accessing health services, as possible
- Assistance enrolling in public benefits, as eligible
- Limited financial assistance
What is Community Sponsorship?
Community Sponsorship is defined as the the pairing of refugees with groups of individuals (e.g. congregations, businesses, university communities, faith groups, sports teams, and local clubs) who commit to providing clearly defined financial and/or in-kind contributions and volunteer services to support their welcome and integration.
- Co-sponsorship is defined as:
- A group of community members who partner with a resettlement agency to provide welcome to a refugee. Co-sponsors sign a non-legally binding agreement which details what services the group will provide to the arriving refugee.
- APA Community Partner is defined as:
- A group who has accepted a written agreement with a national resettlement agency (CWS) to provide welcome and APA program services to Afghan arrivals.
There are two ways to engage in community sponsorship of Afghans with CWS:
Sponsor locally with a CWS affiliate:
CWS is a national resettlement office that supports a network of 30 offices across the country. Each of those offices offers community sponsorship inclusive of co-sponsorship for faith and community groups located within 100 miles of a CWS office and individual volunteer opportunities. Please fill out this form here to express your interest.
Sponsor nationally with CWS HQ
APA Community partners are formal organized groups (e.g. congregations, businesses, university communities, faith groups, sports teams, local clubs, etc.) located outside the 100 mile radius of a CWS office who are interested in becoming an APA Community Partner:
Please note groups interested in this option will need to agree to the following:
- Must have secured a safe, sanitary, affordable apartment or house for the family that is available for at least 6-12 months. Average rental rates for the CWS network at $813 (1 bedroom), $1,012 (2 bedroom), and $1,254 (3 bedroom). Homes with more than 3 bedrooms are also in great need!
- Must have identified a Dari or Pashto interpreter within the group or in the community
- Availability to devote 10-40 hours per week to support a new family in the first weeks
- Availability of at least one member to participate in weekly coaching sessions with a CWS Community Sponsorship Associate
- All members of the group must pass a CWS background check including criminal and credit checks
- All members of the group must complete CWS’ APA Community Partner Training
- All members of the group must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or receive a medical or religious exemption as per CWS’ COVID Vaccination Policy and follow all appropriate COVID-19 prevention practices such as masking.
- All members of the group must agree to core CWS policies including Code of Conduct including prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, Anti-Human Trafficking Policy, Child Safeguarding Policy, Policy on Gender Equality, Racial Equity Platform, Accountability to Affected Populations Framework and Security Policies.
Recommended training while you wait to be matched as an APA Community Partner
Formal training and guidance will be provided to all APA Community Partners. For those interested and looking to learn more about community sponsorship and working with Afghans, the following recorded webinars are available to begin your education.