Governor Polis, Partners announce Afghan Evacuee Support Fund to help new Coloradans

News

FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo, provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, families walk towards their flight during ongoing evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan. A school district in a San Diego suburb that is home to a large refugee population says many of its families who had taken summer trips to Afghanistan to see their relatives have gotten stuck there with the chaos following the withdrawal of U.S. troops. (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps via AP, File)

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis, in partnership with fiscal sponsor Rose Community Foundation, announced the Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund to ensure that Colorado is prepared to welcome Afghan evacuees and connect them with community resources.

Contributions will fund grants to organizations in Colorado that provide refugee resettlement services, health and mental health services for newcomers, legal services to help evacuees navigate available pathways for permanency in the U.S., and other forms of needed assistance.

“Colorado is proud to welcome Afghans who assisted the US mission in Afghanistan as they face the challenge of rebuilding their lives here,” Polis said. “These courageous new Americans will be an asset to our state and I encourage my fellow Coloradans to support them in any way they can.”

“We invite Colorado companies, foundations, and individual donors to join us in supporting the organizations that will be providing critical services to families and individuals being relocated to Colorado from Afghanistan,” said Rose Community Foundation President and CEO Lindy Eichenbaum Lent. “Contributions to this fund will help create a welcoming resettlement for newcomers to our community.”

Colorado expects to receive around 1,500 Afghan evacuees over the next year. The state expects most of the Afghans who come to Colorado to be resettled in the metro Denver area, where a large Afghan population already lives. More than 60,000 refugees have resettled in Colorado since 1980.

In June 2021, Governor Polis signed HB21-1150 creating an Office of New Americans in Colorado’s Department of Labor and Employment, expanding the New American Integration Initiative which launched in November of 2019.  In August, the Governor sent a letter to President Biden telling him that Colorado stood ready to provide safety and opportunity to Afghan evacuees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders. 

Donations to the fund can be made here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local