CLEVELAND — Though the exact number of Afghan refugees coming to Cleveland is unclear, the call to help those heading to Northeast Ohio is loud and clear.
"It’s the right thing to do, secondly we’ve got an Afghan community here,” said Global Cleveland president Joe Cimperman. “They’ve got the connections, the family members, and the different things that are important to people that are coming out of a tough place.”
Cimperman confirmed 30 Afghan refugees already arrived in Cleveland this week, but he’s expecting that number to jump any day now.
All refugees will first undergo a security screening and vetting process at military bases.
“The refugees need an extra apartment or housing,” said Cimperman. “They need gift cards for grocery stores, they need jobs, they people to welcome our sisters and brothers from Afghanistan with open arms."
Fourteen organizations are working together to get these refugees what they need, the group is called Refugee Services Collaborative.
Eileen Wilson’s organization, Building Hope in the City, is part of the collaborative.
"It’s been a week that the staff here at the Hope Center,” said Wilson “Staff has had to step up to work with people who are newly traumatized, watching Afghanistan fall and not be able to do anything."
Wilson’s crew offers English and citizenship classes, working with families to get them acclimated to life in the US.
“We work with adult basic education classes, we do employment help, we do computer classes, what we’re doing is wrapping around people to give them the very practical things they need."
To learn more or to donate to Refugee Services Collaborative, click here.
AirBNB is also stepping in to offer free housing for Afghan refugees.
A spokeperson told News 5 that the company is aiming assist at least 20,000 refugees, adding that AirBNB's national philanthropic partners are working with local organizations in each city to get people into homes.
AirBNB said it is covering the cost of each reservation made by partner organizations and home owners can also host their properties for free.
It is unclear how many hosts in the Cleveland area are participating but those interested in sharing their home can click here.
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