No Afghan evacuees from federal program coming to Miami Valley; local agency playing different role

MIAMI VALLEY — Ohio will receive 855 of the 37,000 Afghan evacuees coming into the country as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Afghan Placement and Assistance Program, but none will be resettled in the Miami Valley at this time according to a local resettlement agency.

Laura Roesch, Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley, told News Center 7′s Candace Price that they will not be taking in any of the 855 Afghan evacuees coming to Ohio.

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“Catholic Social Services has focused our decision about the Afghan refugees to support the SIV, Special Immigrant Visa Program,” Roesch said.

SIV’s are a type of immigrant visa that can take up to a year to process. They usually require applicants to have been a long-term employee of the U.S. government.

Roesch said the decision to support SIV’s instead of those coming through the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program because of the limited financial assistance they will have.

“The evacuees who come through the humanitarian aid program will have very limited financial assistance to support themselves and are not coming with full resources through the resettlement program,” Roesch said.

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The housing limitations in the Dayton area were also contributing factors to the decision.

“The Dayton region has been challenged with access to an inventory sufficient for affordable housing, for not just refugees, but any person on a modest income,” Roesch said.

Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley said they have resettled 44 SIV’s in the last six years. They told News Center 7 that they do expect that number in increase with current situation in Afghanistan, but do not have an exact number of SIV’s they will take in at this time.