The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this week to welcome and support Afghan refugees and returning military personnel with a range of services, including jobs and housing.
The vote was 4-0, with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl absent from Tuesday’s meeting.
Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended that the county’s CEO establish an Afghan Refugee Task Force and coordinate with federal, state and non-governmental agencies to provide resources to Afghan nationals resettling in Los Angeles County.
Supervisor Janice Hahn noted that many are fleeing because they fear retaliation from the Taliban for helping the American war effort.
“We have always been known in L.A. County as a place for immigrants of all nations to set up a new life,’’ Hahn said. “We say to all you Afghan nationals coming here, you are welcome here, you will be safe here, and we will all work together to make sure that your settlement is something that we can all be proud of.’’
Support could range from cash aid to medical and mental health care, workforce development and legal assistance with immigration. Private companies are also stepping up to help. Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who co-authored the motion, highlighted Airbnb’s international efforts to open up homes to Afghans and said she was proud to be in a position to give back.
“I make the pledge to help every way I can to provide safe and welcoming placement to all, and homes for those, and jobs for those who are coming into L.A. County,’’ Barger said, calling the work “vitally important.’’
The motion also called for an assessment of all available services for returning military veterans. Barger underscored the potential need for mental health services.
“Those service members who sacrificed so much are also having a tough time,’’ she said. “While we are closing a chapter, for some it is still very much wide open, and we need to provide them with a healing process moving forward.’’