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Columbus City Council To Provide Rental Assistance For Afghan Refugees

A woman walks next to a "For Rent" sign at an apartment complex in Palo Alto, Calif. in this July 19, 2006 file photo.
Paul Sakuma
/
AP
A woman walks next to a "For Rent" sign at an apartment complex in Palo Alto, Calif. in this July 19, 2006 file photo.

The Columbus City Council is set to vote Monday on an ordinance aimed at helping Afghan evacuees with housing costs.

If approved, the Afghan Neighbors Rental Assistance Fund will set aside $50,000 to cover rent for some 450 Afghans resettling in Columbus, in case of default.

The Columbus Apartment Association and Columbus Realtors have been asked to waive any application fees and accept the United States background checks that were completed when the evacuees entered the country.

Councilmember Emmanuel Remy sponsors the legislation and said the incoming Afghans deserve the community's help.

“I mean, they literally were saviors to our troops. And in Afghanistan during the war, many provided translated services or assisted the our soldiers in one way or another. And so we should all be welcoming them with open arms," he said.

Remy said the default rate for new Americans is historically low, and he expects most of the money will end up being returned to the general fund.

The fund is designed to provide landlords with confidence that these individuals will be covered in case of default.

“In a typical landlord situation, you know, they want to see income coming in, they want to see somebody is stable, before they rent to them. And in this case, this population there are coming in so fast. They could we can't provide that.” Remy said. “I think this is a really remarkable partnership to be able to provide the assurances and the guarantees, and get somebody a roof over their head. So they don't have to worry about housing. They just need to worry about finding a job and working hard.”

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.