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Religious organization needs housing for Afghan refugees

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TULSA, Oklahoma. – Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma welcomed its twenty-third Afghan refugee in Tulsa on Monday evening. The organization is acclimating Afghan families to life in Tulsa, but they are struggling to find suitable accommodation.

“It has really been a team effort,” said Julie Dulek of Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma.

Dulek said the organization needed all the help it had received so far from the community of Tulsa.

She said nearly twenty other Afghan refugees arrived in Tulsa over the weekend and at the moment those in the area are staying in short-term rental accommodation. They are only a fraction of the 800 refugees Catholic Charities expects to move.

“We think it’s going to be around 200 families for which we will need to find housing,” Dulek said.

However, Dulek is struggling to find long-term vacant accommodation in Tulsa. Working with the city of Tulsa, she said, properties are around 97 percent occupied.

Now she is calling on the remaining three percent to come forward to help their Afghan families.

“As we heard about these people coming and wanting to make Tulsa their home, we had so many requests from people who have vacancies and want to fill them,” said Dulek.

The Tulsans reach out to help their new neighbors, so that no family looking for a new start is left on their own.

“They prove how welcoming a community Tulsa is… and will be,” said Dulek.

Catholic Charities hopes to match individual Afghans in apartments to help resolve vacancy issues. If they run out of space, Dulek said, they will look to neighboring towns to place families.

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