Hotel rooms

Afghan refugees still living in hotel rooms seek affordable housing in Charlotte area

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) — In a south Charlotte hotel suite, Nasibullah Afghan tosses a soccer ball on the floor as his young children circle around him.

The 30-year-old Afghan refugee fled his homeland in August as the United States pulled out of the longest war and the country fell back under Taliban control.

Related: ‘Getting them out of Afghanistan was the easy part’: Refugees struggle to find affordable housing in Charlotte

Since October, Nasibullah, his wife and seven young children have been staying in a hotel, pending permanent accommodation.

Through a translator, Nasibullah told WBTV he didn’t think he would live like this in the United States, in a place too cramped for his children to play.

His family is one of seven still living in hotel rooms in Charlotte. Catholic Charities is handling their cases and says they are doing what they can – but the lack of affordable housing in the area, especially large enough to accommodate large families, is making the process difficult.

Since October, Nasibullah, his wife and seven young children have been staying in a hotel, pending permanent accommodation.

Many of the newcomers also lack the documents that most landlords require to obtain a lease.

But Catholic Charities has found permanent housing for the majority of the 200 Afghans they suddenly took in in the fall and have social workers looking for more vacancies to complete the job.

Related: Catholic Charities hopes to house hundreds of Afghan refugees in Charlotte

Much of the burden of caring for families like Nasibullah’s falls on Zia Ghafoori, a former U.S. special forces interpreter in Afghanistan who came to the United States on a special immigrant visa in 2014.

He started the Interpreting Freedom Foundation to help newcomers navigate the resettlement process.

“300 people have arrived in Charlotte,” Ghafoori said. “They just come with two pairs of clothes and most of them don’t speak the language.”

Since October, Nasibullah, his wife and seven young children have been staying in a hotel, pending permanent accommodation.(Provided to WBTV)

Ghafoori spends many days delivering groceries and driving people to appointments.

He is exhausted but will do anything to help his fellow Afghans, especially a woman named Fatana Sayeed.

Sayeed’s son, Idris Khan, was a performer who was killed fighting alongside US Green Berets in the 2008 Battle of Shok Valley. The seven-hour gunfight resulted in the award of two medals of ‘honor.

Sayeed may be frustrated to still be living in a hotel room with her teenage daughter, but she’s more grateful than anything to be in the United States.

She is grateful to have a second chance, even in a temporary place, because at least they are finally safe.

Related: Afghan family who helped US troops find new home in Charlotte

Catholic Charities is looking for landlords and landlords willing to rent to Afghan tenants. You can reach them at (704) 370-3262.

There is more information available and a place where you can donate to the Freedom Foundation interpretation resettlement efforts on their website.

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