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Relief agencies struggle to find housing options as more Afghan refugees arrive in DFW

A group of young men stands outside a hotel in Richardson talking with the director of a refugee outreach organization.
Stella M. Chávez
Zeenat Khan (right), director of DFW Refugee Outreach Services, stands outside a Richardson hotel talking with a group of young Afghan refugees.

Organizations like DFW Refugee Outreach Services are collecting donated items like clothing, hygiene products, towels and blankets for families.

A shortage of affordable apartments and other rental units is forcing resettlement agencies to place recently arrived refugees in hotels, private homes and other temporary housing options.

Caseworkers are overwhelmed as refugees, who were evacuated from Afghanistan earlier this year, are released from military bases and resettled in cities across the country.

“Every day, we are seeing four to five families released and either being placed with host families, or I have families even in Airbnbs and just all over the places,” said Zeenat Khan, director of DFW Refugee Outreach Services in Dallas.

Khan and staff members of her organization are collecting donated items for families. She said they don’t give cash to families. Instead, they provide things like towels, cleaning supplies, hygiene products, clothes and food.

DFWROS has also set up registries for items needed with Walmart and Amazon. Links to those registries are on the group’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Most of these refugees have absolutely nothing, no belongings… just the way they were evacuated, just the clothes on their backs,” she said. “Some, if they did have any luggage, they’ve been lost because they’ve traveled to so many different places.”

Got a tip? Email Stella M. Chávez at You can follow Stella on Twitter @stellamchavez.

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Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.