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Update on the Kehilla Immigration Committee’s Accompaniment Work

Lili Shidlovski, Carol Rothman, Julie Litwin
Accompaniment Coordinating Subcommittee

Kehilla’s accompaniment teams and housing hosts have been busy in new ways because of the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past 5 years, Kehilla members have hosted refugees and asylum seekers in their homes and have formed teams to assist them to get settled and feel welcome in the East Bay.

We are happy to say that, so far, all the individuals and families we have worked with are healthy. However, many have lost employment, gotten behind on their rent or face other challenges related to the shelter-in-place restrictions and economic downturn. Some people who were previously doing well and no longer needed our support have now come back to ask for assistance. We have shared information about health and safety, connected those we accompany with resources in the community and assisted those who are eligible to apply for unemployment and various emergency funds. We have also given emotional support to hosts who are facing new challenges

Just before the pandemic, our newest team began working with a refugee family from Afghanistan that is being resettled by Jewish Family and Community Services-East Bay. The mother gave birth to her fifth child last week! Although face-to-face contact has been restricted, the team has helped get many needed items for the family and the new baby and continues to be in touch with the family. The biggest future need will be to help the father find employment.

Several of the individuals we have been working with live with host families. The hosts have been so gracious, despite the fact that the pandemic has made us all have to learn how to live with physical distancing, new ways of shopping, emotional ups and downs, etc. Since many jobs closed down in March and April, hosts have helped fill these gaps, by providing work in their homes or yards.

Now that construction and landscaping are again allowed in the Bay Area, we hope that immigrants who are very ready to get back to work will have new opportunities. We would like to inivite you to help if you can. If your yard is looking shaggy, or if you have something that needs repair or maintenance, let us know, and we will connect you with someone who can help.

For more information about the immigration committee or our accompaniment work, contact the Immigration Committee Chairs here.

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