Local Ministry Looking to House Afghan Refugees

A local ministry is looking for more room to house Afghan refugees

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Expect San Diego to begin sheltering Afghan refugees within a couple of weeks, according to a local ministry.

Bill Jenkins, the executive director of Christ Ministry Center and Safe Harbors San Diego, which has been housing migrants for 20 years, is looking to make room for Afghans flown out of Kabul.

Thousands of Afghan refugees are making their way to American soil.

"My heart goes out to the Afghani people and the families of the service men and women who lost their lives trying to help them get out," Jenkins said.

That has Jenkins, looking for more room. He's appealing to congregations of all faiths and individuals.

"Anyone who has a spare bed that they would be willing to open up to a refugee from Afghanistan or from other places," Jenkins said.

The military is housing migrants at empty barracks on bases around the country but in just two weeks he expects Homeland Security to be reaching out to organizations like his to take them in, Jenkins said.

Jenkins was the pastor at Christ United Methodist Church although, that is not where the afghan refugees will stay. Instead they'll be provided homes by the friends and partners of the ministry Jenkins said.

The pastor says for their own safety and security these migrants should not be warehoused in any one particular facility.

"It becomes too much of a target for people who are anti-immigrants and people who do some terrible things as we have seen," Jenkins said.

Jenkins doesn't know how many he'll need but he has 75 beds and is looking for 40 more.

He expects the already established Afghan/American population in places like El Cajon, will make this an attractive area to settle even temporarily. 

"They speak the same language they have the same customs and eat the same foods. They want to be in a place where they feel more comfortable," Jenkins said.

President Biden authorized funding and special immigrant visas for the evacuated Afghans.

Jenkins says the need for housing will be long term.  

There are 19 Safe Harbors affiliates between San Diego and McAllen Texas.

Pastor Jenkins says they operate solely on donations but are hoping for some kind of federal funds to help with this new wave of refugees.

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