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Local nonprofit aims to help refugee families settle on the Central Coast

Posted at 6:26 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 22:36:13-05

A new nonprofit is working in San Luis Obispo County with the mission of helping refugee families resettle and find new homes on the Central Coast.

The goal of the nonprofit “SLO4 Home” is to help approximately ten families find safe new homes.

After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, U.S. troops withdrew in August of 2021. Many Afghans also fled their home country looking for safety.

According to the president of SLO4 Home, there are still about 70,000 refugees coming to the United States to resettle.

“During war, a lot of people’s lives are in danger. Especially those people who helped the troops. Being there, being part of that group make it so much harder for them to stay in Afghanistan. They are targeted now," said Dr. Ahmad Nooristani who sits on the board of directors for SLO4 Home.

“We’d like to emphasize, these are people who helped the United States. These are people that because of their association with the United States are at risk of their lives," said Lauren Brown, secretary of SLO4 Home.

The directors of the nonprofit say the refugees served as translators and journalists, helping the military and diplomats. The organization is made up of ten different committees each focused on creating a safety net in every part of the refugees’ lives.

“The idea is to successfully integrate these families into our community with job assistance, housing, all the support they need," said Vance Rodgers, president of SLO4 Home.

Dr. Nooristani is from Afghanistan and came to the United States when he was 13 years old. He says it took him six to seven years to adjust to a new culture and community. This is why he says it’s so important to have these resources available.

“As all of sudden you’re sitting somewhere without financial means, without being able to care for yourself or your family, so it becomes extremely challenging," said Dr. Nooristani.

SLO4 Home says for now they are focusing on Afghan families, but they say as more people in the community support their efforts and more money is raised, they also would like to help families from Ukraine.

The first families will begin arriving on the Central Coast in mid to late March. SLO4 Home is looking for more volunteers and monetary donations.