150 Afghani families will be relocated to the Western Mass area under the auspices of Jewish Family Service. It is expected that 60 will stay in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. We might be able to host a few families near us.
The resettlement process works best with teams assigned to each family. These HOST groups include 5-6 people who are the point people (but not the only person!) for a specific area of resettlement activity: housing, community connections, employment, health, education. They work in concert with JFS and the caseworker.
I am exploring now with Temple Israel Greenfield and the Interfaith Council to see if we can generate a HOST group for a family. AND/OR if we can participate as supporters of a HOST group.
The team of 5 or 6 HOST leaders need to have some folks that are good with administrative stuff (assisting to apply for food stamps, transporting to medical visits ) and folks who may be available for transportation during the day.
We know very little about the families until they arrive and we typically have a few days notice to get ready to receive new arrivals.
There will be many ways to help and support. I am asking for now if you can consider being a main contact person for one of the areas of need.
In the meantime, if you are aware of rental or temporary housing possibilities please be in touch. This is a critical first step and the market is very tight here.