The Federal Government Cautions Incoming Afghan Refugees Against Moving To California
The federal government has some helpful advice for Afghan refugees trying to start a new life in America: for the love of God, do not try to rent an apartment in California.
Many of the Afghans who have been airlifted out of their country in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover will be able to come to America under the U.S. State Department’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program, which provides visas to translators who worked with U.S. forces and helps place them in a new city once they get to America.
SIV participants who opt to receive resettlement benefits can also choose to be relocated to one of 19 cities identified as having “reasonable cost of living, housing availability, supportive services, and welcoming communities with volunteers and resources.”
These cities include several in Texas (Houston, Austin, and Dallas), the Mountain West (Salt Lake City and Denver), the Southeast (Raleigh-Durham and Atlanta), and a couple of lower-cost cities in the Mid-Atlantic (Philadelphia and Baltimore).
Noticeably absent from the list are any cities in California.
Indeed, the State Department’s website explicitly warns arriving Afghans against trying to move there, saying that “some cities in California are very expensive places to live, and it can be difficult to find reasonable housing and employment. Any resettlement benefits you receive may not comfortably cover the cost of living in these areas.”
Six out of the 10 most expensive cities to rent a one-bedroom apartment are located in California, according to an August report from rental listing website Zumper.
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