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Downtown Cleveland Residents Association announces partnership to house Afghan refugees

Downtown Cleveland empty streets
Posted at 6:03 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 18:27:55-04

CLEVELAND — Nearly 300 Afghan refugees are on their way to Cleveland and the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association is jumping into action.

“There’s been quite a few people who agreed to open up their homes to these refugee families temporarily, me being one of them,” said DCR President Alan O’Connell.

O’Connell said several DCR members simply felt compelled to help, between downtown residents and even some in Parma and Ohio City.

“You feel helpless and you want to help these people [refugees],” said O’Connell. “To be able to do something and make a difference and help them feel welcomed is a great feeling."

The DCR is partnering with Global Cleveland to house and help refugees.

“It makes me feel very grateful to live in the city of Cleveland,” said Global Cleveland president Joe Cimperman. “I’m proud to be in a state where we have people who are saying 'welcome, come to our community, we're going to make this very difficult time easier on you.'”

On top of residents opening their homes, the DCR is starting a buddy program to ensure refugees have access to things like transit, jobs and finding employment.

“[Refugees] probably don’t know anybody as they head overseas, so this is just buddy system is someone to text, if they’re having a hard time applying for a job, or if they trying to get into school or get a license,” said O’Connell.

RELATED: Gov. Mike DeWine announces hundreds of displaced Afghans coming to Cleveland, Akron

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