Massachusetts resettlement providers have committed to help more Afghans who were evacuated by the United States when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last summer.

Six resettlement groups now expect more than 2,000 Afghan arrivals to the commonwealth — double the number originally estimated in September. That estimate has slowly grown with the advent of new resources to help fund evacuees' first few months here, including one-time payments and $12 million in funding through the state's supplemental budget that will soon be dispersed.

“These funds will be used to provide direct cash assistance to families covering food, utilities and some of the resettlement providers case management expenses,” said Alexandra Weber, senior vice president of advancement at the International Institute of New England, one of the resettlement groups. She said the money will also go toward immigration attorneys to support future asylum claims.

About 1,500 evacuees have already arrived in the state, according to IINE. Weber said her organization has welcomed 350 Afghans to Massachusetts and 81 more to New Hampshire. Of those, 196 are children. The group held a town hall this week to share their progress with residents, nonprofits and anyone interested in helping these evacuees resettle.

The number of evacuees IINE has helped so far in Massachusetts is equal to the 350 Afghans the group assisted between 2014 and 2021 with other types of status, like special interest visa holders and refugees. To help with the influx, they’ve hired a number of Dari- and Pashto-speaking interpreters.

“Refugees begin life in U.S. communities without a social security number, credit score, rental history or income,” Weber said. “Individuals and families need to build their resources over time to move from poverty into middle-income lifestyles.”

The high cost of housing is a challenge. For a family of four, IINE seeks apartments with a monthly cost of $1,700 to $1,900, plus utilities. More than 80% are in apartments with the potential to be long-term homes. Others are in home stays with volunteer families, and 70 evacuees are living temporarily in hotels.

Evacuees, just like refugees, go through a 90-day reception and placement period. Each person gets a one-time federal payment of $1,225, and the receiving agency — IINE or another resettlement group — gets $1,050 per arrival to assist with administration and staffing.

“This one-time grant is never enough for any arrival. IINE supplements this with privately raised cash and in-kind contributions,” said Weber. She added that evacuees will get approximately $2,700 in state funds, which she hopes will ease rental pressure.

Newly arrived Afghans also have access to mental health support, food and clothing, English as a second language courses, health insurance and school enrollment for children. The support begins before families even arrive, with groups and volunteers helping to set up apartments and pick up families at the airport. Other volunteers are part of family support teams that commit to supporting a specific Afghan family with ongoing integration needs for six months, and make financial contributions to the agency.

“We have started to see many signs of hope. Families are getting needed medical attention,” said Jeff Thielman, the president of IINE. “At least a dozen of our adult Afghan clients have secured employment, and children are starting to enroll in school.”

Resettlement agencies also work with evacuees to find work, and IINE offers skills and vocational training programs. Each year, the group trains and places over 650 refugees and immigrants into the Massachusetts and New Hampshire workforce.

“We do all that we can prepare people and to help support them quickly find a job and quickly start building themselves beyond where they start,” said Weber.

More than 62,000 of the 76,000 Afghans were brought to the U.S. have made it off military bases into new communities nationwide. The other 500-plus people who Massachusetts agencies are waiting to resettle live among 14,000 still living on one of five military bases.

The evacuees' legal statuses are in limbo. The U.S. government processed them through emergency humanitarian status, or humanitarian parole, to avoid the many years it takes for refugees to arrive in the U.S. Their stays are considered temporary, so they will eventually have to apply for a visa through an employer, family, or try to apply for asylum. There’s an effort among immigration advocates to get Afghan evacuees green cards.

They can at least access the same benefits as refugees, courtesy of a bill passed in the fall by Congress. That includes the one-time payment of just over $1,200.