InterFaith Works of CNY (InterFaith Works) recently received a $65,000 community grant from the Central New York Community Foundation to create an Afghan Unmet Needs Fund that will provide direct assistance to Afghan evacuees resettling in Syracuse.
The humanitarian crisis that’s arisen from the United States military’s pullout from Afghanistan has resulted in 73,000 Afghans arriving in the United States. While more than half are still housed in temporary camps on U.S. military bases, the rest are in the process of being resettled into different parts of the country. InterFaith Works, a refugee resettlement agency, anticipates welcoming 120 evacuees to Central New York this year.
While many evacuees are being provided with assistance benefits, it is not enough to cover their actual living expenses.
“Instability in covering basic living costs will cause more hardship as families navigate the challenges of acclimation,” said Beth A. Broadway, President/CEO at InterFaith Works. “There is a critical need to quickly fund the basic safety net gaps as clients rebuild their lives here.”
InterFaith Works will use its grant from the Community Foundation to support its Unmet Needs Fund, which helps Afghan evacuees to cover the gaps arising from insufficient public assistance benefits and employment challenges. Funding will ensure the organization’s clients have sufficient food, shelter, clothing, and basic supports during their first year of resettlement.
While this support will assist with the initial transition for these evacuees, there is not an immediate path to permanent residency for them. To stay in the United States, many will need to navigate a severely backlogged visa and immigration system and may not receive work authorization for months. InterFaith Works hopes to stabilize families so that they can achieve employment within six months of arrival and support their integration into Syracuse.
“Our clients will have the assured support of our community, reducing financial stress allowing the adults to focus on learning English, finding a job and engaging in their new community,” said Broadway. “Money from the grant will allow us to help the families become increasingly self-sufficient so they can work and support their own needs.”
This fall, 21 organizations received a total of $824,997 in Community Grants and one organization received a $60,000 LeadSafeCNY grant. Recipients included AccessCNY; CNY Arts; CenterState CEO; CNY Lyme & Tick-Borne Disease Alliance; Community Options; Consortium for Children’s Services; Fight For Hearts; InterFaith Works; Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York; LiteracyCNY; Loretto; Madison County Children’s Camp; Museum of Science & Technology Foundation; New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation; Northeast Hawley Development Association; Onondaga Environmental Institute; Purpose Farm; Redhouse Arts Center; Syracuse Film Center; The First Tee of Syracuse; Town of Nelson; YMCA of Greater Syracuse.
The Community Foundation offers a wide variety of funding opportunities, the largest of which is its Community Grants program. Nonprofit organizations in Onondaga and Madison counties are encouraged to apply for grants to fund innovative projects in the areas of: arts and culture, civic affairs, education, health, human services and the environment. The Community Foundation awards Community Grants to projects that promote community impact, capacity building and diversity.