Local Agency Housing Syrian Refugees Asking for Donations

A local non-profit is reaching out to the public, asking for donations to help Syrian refugees across San Diego County.

CSA San Diego County, a non-profit in El Cajon that focuses on fair housing is one of dozens of agencies helping Syrian refugees across the county.

But a problem many local agencies are facing is funding.

It was estimated in October that San Diego, the country’s 8th largest city, is home to more than 626 refugees.

While that number has continued to increase, the agencies do not have enough resources to cover everyone.

CSA San Diego County has helped house approximately 50 Syrian families since the beginning of August.

Akrayyem Elberry is from Al- Quneitra, a southern province in Syria. Elberry said he left Syria back in August for his four children—the eldest of whom is 11 and the youngest, a 2-year old.

With the help of a translator, Elberry explained the situation in Syria to NBC 7.

“It’s very dangerous,” Elberry said. “Outside my house, people they are kidnapped. They are disappeared, there are too many insurgents everywhere, shooting.”

He came to the United States after fleeing Syria and traveling to Jordan. Elberry told NBC 7 that his children had been traumatized by the bombings back home and were terrified to enter the airport in Jordan. 

After settling in El Cajon in an apartment complex near Main Street, Elberry was given a helping hand from the International Rescue Committee in San Diego. However, those funds quickly ran out and now, the money allocated for their housing is also running low.

Estela de los Rios, Executive Director for CSA San Diego County siad this kind of situtation is very common. De los Rios explained there is more of a need than the amount of resources available when it comes to Syrian refugees.

Agencies such as the International Refugee Committee and CSA San Diego County provide funds for each family. But now, many families are struggling to choose between receiving money for food or housing.

Although it’s a challenge, CSA San Diego County works with apartment complexes to try to lower the cost of housing.

“There is no more housing availability,” said De los Rios. “A lot of families have been going to hotels but those are more expensive and their days are being cut.”

De los Rios added that families only get a certain amount of money for housing but affordable housing is no longer available in El Cajon.

CSA San Diego County is reaching out to the public, asking for monetary donations, blankets, clothing and food. Many families come here with very few belongings, do not speak English and have no means for employment.

If you would like to donate, click here or call (619) 444-5700.