Supporting Afghan Refugees

Members of IILA assemble bags of donated goods that will be given to Afghan refugees.
Photo by Mary O’KEEFE


The International Institute of Los Angeles (IILA) satellite office in far north Glendale recently sorted donated bags and cases of groceries, along with other items, that are being given to refugees from Afghanistan who are being processed through their agency. These families and individuals were resettled in hotels and temporary housing rentals as they try to adjust to a new life in the United States. The refugees are tired, scared and worried yet grateful they are here and they are safe, according to Elma Betancourt, volunteer coordinator at IILA.

As of Monday IILA resettled over 300 individuals from Afghanistan.

IILA works with partners at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). As of late September, USCRI has taken in or been assigned 1,228 Afghan refugees. The mission of IILA is to help families become self-sufficient and to promote cross-cultural understanding by providing services to immigrants, refugees and survivors of human trafficking, according to the agency’s website.

IILA’s main office is located in downtown Los Angeles; there are also satellite offices including one in far north Glendale.

IILA representatives are presently looking for landlords willing to rent property to refugee families and are willing to reduce or waive a credit check, proof of income or deposit requirements. They are also looking for host families, especially during the holiday season because so many hotels and temporary rentals are already booked.

In addition to just getting the refugees settled and safe, the agency is looking for employment opportunities for refugees as well as legal services to help navigate the applications for asylum.

There are several ways people can support IILA including donating food and funds to help support the families as they settle in for their new lives.

On Aug. 15, the Taliban captured the capital city of Kabul, effectively taking control of the government of Afghanistan and sparking mass evacuations of international personnel and Afghan citizens. Thousands of Afghans at risk of retaliatory violence from the Taliban have been evacuated, including those who worked with the U.S. government and military, according to IILA.

For more information or to contribute to IILA, visit the website at