Afghan refugees arrive in Alexandria

Housing remains a critical need for one set

Sarah Richter
Sarah Richter

Four Afghan refugees arrived in Alexandria last week—and their local sponsors say they are desperately searching for affordable housing for two of them.
The refugees are a set of brothers and a set of male cousins. Their sponsors rounded up housing for one set but didn't have as much time to prepare for the second set and are encountering the Alexandria area's limited supply of affordable housing.

Alexandria opens doors to refugees

One pair is staying in a hotel while awaiting permanent housing, said Sarah Richter, who organized the Lakes Area Sponsor Circle along with seven other people. They raised money and found household furnishings for the men.
During their first few days in Alexandria, the men took a pontoon ride with Let's Go Fishing, Richter said. They are now focused on legal paperwork and have already started English classes.
"They are very happy and appreciative," she said. "They are such wonderful, kind, funny, and polite guys. They have family at home they worry about."
The Lakes Area Sponsor Circle calls affordable housing a "desperate" need for the refugees.
Richter said they hope to find a unit that will qualify down the road for Section 8, as the men might be able to qualify for housing assistance next year so that they would not have to move again.
The sponsorship group can be contacted through its Facebook page or by email,

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994. Driven by curiosity and a desire to learn about the United States, Karen Tolkkinen has covered local news from Idaho to New Hampshire to Alabama and landing at the Echo Press in Alexandria in 2017.
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