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New Afghan refugees face eviction from San Diego-area apartments

New Afghan refugees facing eviction from El Cajon, National City apartments
Posted at 3:57 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 21:17:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Immigrant advocates say some new Afghan refugees are facing more trauma in the San Diego area with the threat of eviction.

On Friday, volunteers from the Helping El Cajon Refugees Facebook page helped furnish and set up an apartment in El Cajon for a family of seven, new arrivals after an escape from Afghanistan.

Lead organizer Jill Galante says that family is one of the lucky ones. Amid the local housing shortage, her group has helped six other new arrivals since the Taliban takeover who weren't supplied temporary housing by a resettlement agency.

“These are predicaments I feel like we should be avoiding at all costs,” said Galante.

Two of the families are staying at motels, draining the little money they have. The other four families have moved in with friends in small apartments. One Afghan translator's family of six has been sleeping on the floor in a National City apartment.

“They don't have anything but pillows and blankets to lay on, because there’s no room in the apartments for them to even have air mattresses,” said Galante.

Galante says along with that hardship, the friends housing the refugees have been warned about the extra residents.

“There are several landlords that are approaching or have approached these families letting them know that they're going to be evicted,” said Galante.

For refugee families, the emotions can be overwhelming.

“They are grateful and relieved to be here, but this is simply exchanging one trauma for another,” said Galante.

Galante is now calling for rental criteria, like income and credit requirements, to be relaxed.

“The plea is for property managers to reach out to give these families a chance to help out during this humanitarian crisis … If we can't get these people housed, I don't know the fate of the thousands that will be heading to San Diego … We want them to feel welcome here, but that simply isn't the case,” said Galante.

One of the resettlement agencies has found some housing for the National City family, but it won't be available for a month.

Helping El Cajon Refugees is matching homeowners willing to host a family. Anyone interested is asked to post their interest on the Facebook page.

Second Families, a nonprofit the group works with is accepting donations for motel vouchers.

The International Rescue Committee has partnered with Airbnb to supply housing to support new Afghan arrivals across the country and in San Diego.