BALLING GREEN, Kentucky – As Afghan refugees continue to make their way to Bowling Green, finding permanent housing has been difficult.
Providing housing for refugees is a holistic approach, says Albert Mbanfo, executive director of the International Centre. Looking for housing is not something he usually does on a daily basis but the need is essential at the moment.
“At this point, everyone in the office spends part of their time looking for homes and apartments for rent. I jumped in too,” Mbanfu said.
Some of the refugees have permanent housing scattered all over the city, others have not enjoyed this luxury and are staying in hotels.
An anonymous refugee said, “We didn’t settle into a house and don’t have our own schedule, it was fine. We still spent our usual day trying to find new places in Kentucky to get used to the culture people live in” Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Mbanfu says the lack of credit history has made some landlords tire of renting, but the International Center is willing to co-sign for families which may help ease that burden.
“We are reaching as many places as possible, what we were willing to do was co-sign if that would give the property owners some measure of confidence,” Mbanvo said.
According to Mbanfo, that number is just over 100 refugees living in Bowling Green. He says that despite the housing problem, the community has welcomed them with open arms. Some of the hotels they host even allow them to stay for free.
With refugees still arriving daily, it is important to try to get permanent housing, so that not everything is subsidized.
“We are not in a crisis, we just want to be proactive to secure enough of the number we expect to come in,” Mbanvo said.