DES MOINES, Iowa — As organizations from central Iowa continue to welcome in refugees from Afghanistan and other parts of the world, Catholic Charites, Dioesces of Des Moines is having a hard time finding affordable rental units for them to live in.
Finding places for refugees has been an issue before for Catholic Charities, but never to this extent.
"It's a big challenge for our group," said Beth Gibbins, the organization's marketing director.
Over the next six months, they will welcome in roughly 100 refugees from Afghanistan in addition to 165 refugees from other countries slated to come as well.
"We are looking as far out as we can," Gibbins said. "We had different regulations and restrictions, so definitely the metro area, and as creative as we're possibly allowed."
Because of restrictions, Catholic Charities cannot find rental properties outside of the metro. But to solve the lack of available homes, they have turned to getting hotel rooms.
"The solution right now is we have a partnership with extended stay hotels, and that's helping us get the families here and settled temporarily," Gibbins said.
During this time, Gibbins said they are hoping people can help out in any way possible. She said there is a section on the Catholic Charities website where people who have rental properties can reach out to someone on their team, and offer to help out.
Finding refugees a permanent place to live is important because it will help them feel like they belong here, the organization told Local 5.
"I think everybody understands that stability is a great comfort and you really need that stability to have success," Gibbins said.
Once Catholic Charities finds a place for the families to rent, the organization will pay for two months of their rent. They also assist the refugees in finding employment, signing kids up for school and any other assistance that is necessary.
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