For two decades, the U.S. Government has employed Afghan allies to serve alongside U.S. troops, diplomats, and other government employees as interpreters, translators, cultural advisors, drivers, and more. Because of their service to the U.S. mission, our allies and their families soon became the targets of anti-American violence.

As the U.S. armed forces rapidly withdraw from Afghanistan, more than 18,000 Afghans who served alongside them face a severe backlog in the processing of their Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs). Our Afghan allies and their families are in grave danger and at risk of retaliatory attacks from the Taliban. Learn more about LIRS’ work on this issue.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service has taken the lead in resettling our Afghan Allies and their families and is currently looking for assistance in supporting these refugees in Western Michigan.

Local Needs for Western Michigan:

In Western Michigan, LIRS’ partner Samaritas is organizing the resettlement of refugees. They have expressed a need for housing options for refugee families arriving to Western Michigan. Options can be either temporary/transitional or permanent and both 1/2/3 bedroom apartments or larger single family homes as both small and large families are expected to arrive over the summer and ongoing into the fall of 2021 and beyond.

They would consider utilizing other forms of housing for temporary placements such as dormitories, shelters, or other unique locations. For example, they rented a home in Kalamazoo for placing refugee families who are arriving before their located home is available in Grand Rapids.

Other supplies for families, such as house furnishings and supplies for babies and young children, are also needed. Monetary donations support rental homes or apartments in advance of families arriving to ensure a safe and efficient home to be available when the refugee’s travel is ultimately finalized. Donate Now.

If you are interested in supporting this ministry, have housing leads, or items to donate, please contact Chris Cavanaugh, Samaritas’ Director of New American Resettlement for Western Michigan at or 616-337-5798.

Additional LIRS Resources