Afghan refugee family finds new Chicago home after spending more than 3 months at US military base

Leah Hope Image
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Afghan refugee family arrives in new Chicago home after spending more than 3 months at US military base
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Volunteers welcomed an Afghan refugee family to a new Chicago apartment after spending more than 3 months at U.S military base.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After several months of waiting, a family forced to flee their home in Afghanistan has a new place to live in the Chicago area.

Volunteers with Am Yisrael Conservative Congregation in suburban Northfield received word over the weekend and went into action to prepare a Chicago apartment for the family arriving on Tuesday.

The Chicago Furniture Bank provided most of the furnishings for the apartment.

The volunteers set it all up and prepared food and activities for the family with four children.

They arrived after waiting three and a half months at a U.S. military base.

The father said he did not want any of their information or identities public but he did want to share that he was happy to finally have a home for his family.

The family's case worker also came to Chicago on a Special Immigrant Visa from Afghanistan several years ago and did not want to be identified. He said he understands as few do what the family is going through.

"Culturally, it's very difficult for people to adjust here because it's a totally different culture in Afghanistan," said the case worker.

Ellen Goldsmith is among the Am Yisrael volunteers helping the Muslim family.

"I just hope they can be happy here and that they can stay if that's what they want to do," said Goldsmith.

Jewish Child & Family Services Chicago is coordinating the resettlement and welcomes individuals or organizations that want to sponsor Afghan families. JCFS was founded to help Jewish families but now helps immigrants from around the world.

"It's the story of our community having once been immigrants and refugees to this country and we see it as our obligation to extend welcome to those who are looking for services and support today," said Jessica Schaffer, JCFS Chicago Director of HIAS Immigration & Citizenship.

JCFS Chicago said is currently looking for apartments for dozens more Afghan families expected in the next two months.