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U.S. Afghan Resettlements Slowed by Housing Shortage, Old Technology

The push to resettle the first wave of Afghan evacuees brought to the U.S. is expected to take months longer than first anticipated as a measles scare, a nationwide housing shortage and paperwork delays have slowed the process, according to government and resettlement officials familiar with the effort.

A measles outbreak prompted officials at military bases to carry out a broad vaccination campaign, giving refugees a full course of shots for Covid-19, measles and polio-an effort that slowed resettlements for weeks.

Resettlement agencies, which contract with the State Department to help the Afghans, say finding off-base housing is a big challenge.

“Some of the places where there are sizable Afghan communities, like in California and northern Virginia, they’re particularly expensive,” said Melanie Nezer, senior vice president of public affairs at HIAS, one of the resettlement agencies.

Corrections & Amplifications Afghan evacuees receiving housing services in the U.S. are no longer required to live within 100 miles of a resettlement office, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

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