King County Executive Dow Constantine recently welcomed nearly 130 Afghan refugees in Federal Way as they relocated in the United States.
“It’s an honor to welcome these new residents to King County, and we are here to help them resettle,” Constantine said. “Day in and day out, we seek to be a welcoming community where every person can thrive, and this is another opportunity for our work to match our ideals.”
In mid-October, Constantine visited with several families at the former Extended Stay America hotel, which was purchased by King County in July to be utilized for the Health Through Housing program for individuals experiencing homelessness. The former hotel was purchased for $23.3 million.
During the visit, Constantine spoke to a father who arrived with his wife and five children, and another individual who is a former member of the Special Forces in Afghanistan.
The refugees discussed both the difficulty of the sudden transition they are experiencing and the excitement of starting a new life here in the United States.
The father told Constantine he looked forward to finding a permanent home so his children could be enrolled in a local school and begin their lives in King County.
The former hotel is being repurposed as short-term housing, working with partners at the International Rescue Committee and World Relief, according to the county.
In September, King County announced a $500,000 investment to support and temporarily house refugees in the area.
The county will utilize $250,000 from the Office of Equity and Social Justice’s language access program to provide language supports such as translation, interpretation, and more.
Another $250,000 from the Department of Community and Human Services will be used to provide one-time grants to community-based organizations who are supporting Afghan resettlement efforts, the Mirror previously reported.
The county plans to prepare for a January launch of the Health Through Housing program in Federal Way. The hotel has 101 available rooms.