Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services’ 2021 Annual Report highlighted its partnership with Peace in resettling newly arrived Afghans. It also features Peace member Bill Penoyer, who is an LIRS ambassador.  Read the 2021 LIRS Annual Report to learn more about national refugee resettlement efforts and Peace’s involvement. 

Supporting the resettlement of newly arrived Afghans, LIRS established a temporary office at Peace Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia, to assist in the provision of services through the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program (APA) program and ensure newly arrived Afghans are welcomed, supported, and empowered in their new lives in the D.C. Metro area.

The report shows that in the last two months of 2021 alone, the office at Peace served 668 individuals. That number increased to over 1500 by the fall of 2022. The LIRS team worked to ensure all clients were provided with basic needs support and connected to essential services as they worked toward self-sufficiency.

The report features some names and stories of the people who have worked at Peace.  They have become part of our extended family as we have shared space over the past year. The office at Peace is special as it is staffed 100% by Afghans, many of them recent arrivals themselves. 

The quilters have a soft spot for the LIRS friends with whom they have shared the Fellowship Hall on more than one occasion. As the LIRS report demonstrates, it has been a blessing to use our space to ease the way for Afghan evacuees and we have been blessed in the partnership. The report also features Peace Member  Bill Penoyer, who has been volunteering to ease the way for refugees for many years, opening his home and his heart.    

Although the fall of Kabul happened over a year ago, Afghan Allies still need our help. Their parolee status will soon be lifted and as a result, they may become illegible for the benefits that have assisted them thus far in our community. Legislators from both parties came together to formally introduce the Afghan Adjustment Act, a bill that would allow eligible Afghans to apply for lawful permanent residence after one or two years of presence in the U.S. Now that the Afghan Adjustment Act has been introduced, it’s more important than ever to contact your Congressperson and urge them to pass the bill as soon as possible.