LOCAL NEWS

Afghan refugees expected in Ogden area: How you can help 

Jan 5, 2022, 6:26 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 7:00 pm

OGDEN, Utah –– Catholic Community Services has been planning for the arrival of about 500 refugees in Utah later this year, including many from Afghanistan who will settle in the Ogden area because of the ongoing housing crisis. 

Catholic Community Services of Utah put out the call for help on Wednesday. 

It’s a major task to set up a base of volunteers in a new city, but the folks at Catholic Community Services explained the scarcity of affordable housing is making it a necessity. 

Their goal is to make sure the help is ready and in place once families begin arriving in the Beehive State. 

Starting over with nothing and in a new country is extremely difficult but volunteers make it possible. 

“Since the Afghan crisis broke news in August, we were flooded with a lot of community members who wanted to support and help,” said Ermina Mustafic, a community coordinator for Catholic Community Services. 

They got lots of help with the vast majority so far focused in Salt Lake City. 

“The reason why we settled clients in Salt Lake County for so long and only Salt Lake County is because that’s where the resources are readily available and where public transportation is accessible,” Mustafic said. 

She added that the major hurdle of affordable housing, especially for larger families, is pushing them to look elsewhere. 

Right now, Ogden is a good fit because of the resources available and the fact that they have an office there too. 

“So we wanted to make sure that when we began expanding up to Ogden this time around that we had volunteers who are trained and ready to go to meet our clients and help them reach self-sufficiency,” Mustafic said. 

Welcome event held for hundreds of Afghan refugees as they arrive in Utah

Right now, they need all kinds of help, with a focus on finding family mentors, youth mentors, youth tutors, and people who can help with child care at CCS offices, while refugees meet with their case-workers. 

“It’s a huge challenge, but the important thing is that we’ve actually had volunteers volunteering from Ogden to help our clients in Salt Lake County because there’s such a desire to already help,” she said. 

Mustafic added they need more people willing to become neighbors and friends to refugee families and stick with it for about a year. 

Catholic Community Services will have a virtual orientation for Ogden-area volunteers Thursday night. You can sign up here. Residents outside of Weber County can sign up here.

You can also register for their mailing list to see available one-time volunteer opportunities.

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Afghan refugees expected in Ogden area: How you can help