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By: Katie Boehm

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AmeriCorps members needed to support Afghan refugee resettlement in Minnesota

Introducing Refugee Response Initiative on green background

ServeMinnesota creates initiative to support Minnesota Department of Human Services State Afghan Placement Assistance Program

MINNEAPOLIS (January 4, 2022) – ServeMinnesota, the state’s hub for AmeriCorps, partners with Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS) to form a new initiative: Refugee Response Initiative. The program creates opportunities for about 40 Minnesotans to serve as resettlement navigators for Afghan refugees new to the state.

The DHS Resettlement Programs Office is working closely with community partners like ServeMinnesota and other agencies to coordinate Minnesota’s response in welcoming families evacuated from Afghanistan and ensure they have a safe temporary place to stay with access to critical short-term services and longer-term assistance. AmeriCorps members will support approximately 750 Afghan refugees who will be arriving in Minnesota from Wisconsin in the next sixty days.

The Refugee Response Initiative offers positions that focus on youth enrichment (birth through teens) and adult support through navigation of available services for housing, food and community orientation. The program will continue through June with part- or full-time positions available.

Individuals who join the AmeriCorps Refugee Response Initiative will receive a living stipend, health benefits and an education award that can be used for tuition or student loan repayment. Positions will be paid approximately the equivalent of $15 per hour (AmeriCorps members are not paid hourly; they receive a fixed living allowance every two weeks based on their total number of hours served).

“AmeriCorps is the state’s expandable resource for addressing critical issues,” said ServeMinnesota CEO Audrey Suker. “We were delighted when the Department of Human Services contacted us to support their work. ServeMinnesota is uniquely positioned to work with community partners to understand ongoing needs and how to adapt the people power of AmeriCorps to meet those needs.”

Training will begin in February and March. People with language skills in Dari and Pashto are especially encouraged to apply. Schedules can be customized with shifts between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.

Anyone who wants to learn more about supporting the Refugee Response Initiative is encouraged to fill out an interest form at www.serveminnesota.org/refugee.

About ServeMinnesota

ServeMinnesota creates positive social change by deploying the people power of AmeriCorps to translate research into on-the-ground implementation. Each year, thousands of individuals commit to transformative service opportunities focused on improving the lives of Minnesotans through education, affordable housing, employment, the environment, addiction recovery and response to community crises. Two of its innovative strategic initiatives, Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps, demonstrate speed to implementation in their work to close the achievement gap and help struggling students become successful learners. By leveraging federal dollars, building strong community partnerships, and continually improving programs, ServeMinnesota ensures national service is positioned to make meaningful contributions to our state. For more information, visit www.serveminnesota.org.

About Department of Human Services

The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) helps provide essential services to Minnesota’s most vulnerable residents. Working with many others, including counties, tribes and nonprofits, DHS helps ensure that Minnesota seniors, people with disabilities, children and others meet their basic needs and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Minnesota Department of Human Services Resettlement Programs Office (DHS/RPO) has been working closely with community partners and other state agencies to coordinate Minnesota’s response in welcoming families evacuated from Afghanistan, and to support local resettlement agencies in resettling Afghan Evacuees through the federal Afghan Placement Assistance (APA) program. This coordinated effort is called Operation Allies Welcome Minnesota (OAWMN) and has been active since September 2021. DHS/RPO and its partners are working to ensure Afghan arrivals in Minnesota have (1) a safe temporary place to stay upon arrival with access to critical short-term services to address immediate needs, and (2) longer-term supports as families transition into MN communities and establish their new lives.

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