TULSA, Okla. — Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma welcomed its twenty-third Afghan refugee to Tulsa, Monday night. The organization is acclimating the Afghan families to Tulsa life, but they are running into some trouble finding suitable homes.
"It really has been a team effort," Julie Dulek of Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma said.
Dulek said the organization has needed every bit of help it has gotten so far form the Tulsa community.
She said nearly twenty more Afghan refugees arrived in Tulsa over the weekend, and right now, the ones who are in the area, are staying in short-term rental housing. They are just a fraction of the 800 refugees Catholic Charities expects to relocate.
“We think that that’s going to be about 200 families we’re going to need to find housing for," Dulek said.
However, Dulek is struggling to find long-term housing vacancies in Tulsa. In working with the City of Tulsa, she said, properties are about 97 percent occupied.
Now, she is calling on the remaining three percent to make themselves known to help their Afghan families.
"As word has gotten out about these folks coming and wanting to make Tulsa their homes we have had so many requests from people who have vacancies and want to fill them," Dulek said.
Tulsans reaching out to help their new neighbors, so no family seeking a fresh start is left out on its own.
"They’re proving just what a welcoming community Tulsa is…and will be," Dulek said.
Catholic Charities hopes to pair individual Afghanis together in apartment units to help with vacancy issues. If they run out of space, Dulek said, they will look to nearby cities to place families.
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