Everett And Snohomish County Begin Welcoming Afghans

October 1, 2021


Up to 2400 Afghan men, women and children may be relocating in Everett and Snohomish County.

Since the 1970’s Everett and Snohomish County have welcomed many refugees from Afghanistan.

With recent events, the number of Afghans coming to our area is about to increase and efforts are ramping up to welcome between 1400 and 2400 people over the next two to three months.

We spoke with Alessandra Durham, Senior Policy Analyst, in the Snohomish County Executive’s Office about the plans to bring so many folks into our area.

Q. Who are the people who are coming to Everett and Snohomish County?

A). The individuals and families that are arriving in Snohomish County have actively assisted the United States in our efforts in Afghanistan for over 20 years. They are political allies, translators, human rights activists, journalists, teachers, lawyers, doctors, mothers, fathers, and children. Their support for the United States, peace, and democracy placed them in imminent danger of losing their lives under the Taliban regime. Because they helped American soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan, we have a moral obligation to help them now. It is important that we treat our new community members with respect, dignity, kindness, and compassion.

Q). Will they be taking jobs and resources from people already in need in Everett and Snohomish County?

A). The immigrants are not taking resources being used for other needs, such as addressing homelessness. In general, these Afghan refugees are professionals (and their families). They just need some guidance on how to get a job, find more permanent housing, and get the other basics organized.

Q. Where are the funds coming from to pay for this local response?

A). For our initial response efforts, the county is using a mix of federal America Rescue Plan Act dollars and unspent funds from other human services programs. This will cover the initial start of the program. If more funds are needed, we’ll look at the most appropriate place to find funding.

Q). Who is handling the operation to assist the people coming to Everett and Snohomish County?

A). Volunteers of America Western Washington will serve as an operator for transition services. We have countless other community partners that will be providing services, including the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Medical Teams International, Workforce Snohomish, Sea Mar, Community Health Clinics, Snohomish Health District, Snohomish County Human Services, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, City of Everett, and Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest.

Q). What do we know about the people coming here?

A). Afghan refugees arriving in the United States go through extensive screening and are processed into the country by the federal government. Local agencies are working to ensure that once Afghan individuals and families arrive they receive the necessary support to successfully integrate into the community. Multiple locations across Snohomish County have been used as temporary spaces to connect newly arrived Afghans to service providers that can assist with accessing immediate basic needs (food, shelter, clothing, medical exams, work support, etc.).

Q). Are there any security concerns from Everett Police or the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office?

A). The Everett Police Department and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office have been active and supportive partners in the planning for our efforts. Their agencies will work closely with us to ensure the safety and security of staff, volunteers, and people receiving services.

Q). If people want to help with this effort, what can they do?

A). The best way to support our newly arrived community members at this time is to donate funds to Volunteers of America Western Washington or donate specific items during the donation drive being led by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Also, Refugee and Immigrant Services Northwest is in need of those who want to volunteer time or donate money.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring news and events in Everett, Washington. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett.

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