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Housing shortage making it difficult for Afghan refugees to find a home

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 15, 2021

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — More Afghan refugees are expected to make their way to the Tampa Bay area, and while donations are pouring in, finding a place for them to live is challenging.

“The housing shortage continues to be an issue,” said Sylvia Acevedo, senior director for Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services.

But, there is help out there thanks to state and federal leaders.

“The state department has relaxed some of their guidelines, and they’re more flexible to allow for us to help,” said Acevedo.

Refugees apply for a loan before coming to America. That is through the international organization of migration, and it’s used to pay for their rent until they get on their feet.

Normally that money is used to rent an apartment or a house with an actual landlord. But due to the housing shortage, the state department has made it possible for homeowners to offer up a room for rent, or even snowbirds to rent out their house on a temporary basis.

“I have friends who have said they have a spare bedroom that someone can stay in until they get on their feet,” Acevedo said. “The state department allows for that, and it’s perfect.”

JFCS has already housed six refugee families so far. They’ve even helped them find jobs. And, thanks to donations, they’ve been able to furnish their homes.

“The outpouring has been amazing,” she said.

They have hundreds of donations filling up their offices still, which will be a great help when those other refugees get here.

“The community cares deeply and they have shown it,” said Acevedo.

If you would like to donate or house a refugee, click this link for details.