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Afghan evacuees still searching for homes in Charlotte

afghan evacuees ramstein air base-min.jpg
Senior Airman Milton Hamilton
/
U.S. Air Force
Afghan evacuees board the final outbound flight to the United States from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 30, 2021.

Local agencies are still trying to find homes for some Afghan evacuees who arrived in Charlotte after the U.S. withdrew troops from Afghanistan last summer.

Most of the 310 evacuees who arrived in Charlotte have been resettled, but at least five individuals and four families are still without a permanent home or apartment, according to Charlotte's Catholic Charities, which is helping with the resettlement effort.

Some of the individuals are waiting on paperwork from the U.S. government, said Sandy Buck, regional director of Catholic Charities, and some of the remaining families are large — including a family of six, a family of eight and a family of nine. Another family consisting of a mother and daughter are considering moving to another state, so had not moved into a permanent apartment in Charlotte, Buck said.

Buck said there were a number of a reasons for why the agency was still struggling to find homes for the remaining evacuees. The large size of some of the families made it difficult to find affordable homes for. Buck also said a rise in corporate landlords around Charlotte was also making it difficult, because they're less likely than private landlords to accept evacuees who don't yet have social security numbers or paystubs.

"They don't bend the rules," Buck said. "If you can't do a background check or a credit history and you don't have a job, you're not getting an apartment."

Marsha Hirsch, executive director of the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency, said her organization had also struggled to find housing for its share of evacuees, and housed many of them in hotels and AirBnbs while her staff searched for apartments and homes for rent.

The Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency received 105 Afghan evacuees in total, and Hirsch said as of last week, all had been placed into permanent homes. Catholic Charities received 205 evacuees, and its remaining five individuals and four families were being temporarily housed in hotels.

In the meantime, both agencies were also helping the evacuees get established in the Charlotte area by enrolling children in school and helping families and individuals find work, among other things.

"We're getting phone service, we're putting down deposits for Duke Energy electricity accounts, maybe doing some grocery shopping, and then the deposits and a couple months of rent," Hirsch said.

Catholic Charities asked that any landlords interested in helping to house the remaining evacuees to contact them.

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal