Citing housing shortage, New Hampshire’s Afghan resettlement groups say they’ve hit capacity

An Afghan family with two adults and three children sit on a couch after recently resettling in Massachusetts with help of the International Institute of New England.

An Afghan family recently resettled in Massachusetts with help of the International Institute of New England, which also works in New Hampshire. (Courtesy of International Institute Of New England)

New Hampshire’s housing shortage has slowed the process of resettling Afghan evacuees, according to two local organizations. Of the 150 Afghan evacuees who have arrived to New Hampshire since November, about half of them remain in hotels.

“The housing market in New Hampshire has made it very difficult to find affordable and safe housing,” said Donna Odde, a staff member for Ascentria Care Alliance, which is resettling 100 Afghans, mostly in the Concord area.

“We could use 15 apartments today and fill them,” Odde says.

For Afghans who just arrived here with few belongings and no savings, New Hampshire’s shortage of affordable rental apartments is a big hurdle. Other states welcoming evacuees face a dating questionnaire. And that’s complicating an already overwhelming push to resettle over 70,000 Afghans in the U.S. before February.

“Housing is the number one issue on everyone’s plate,” said Crissie Ferrara, a program manager at Ascentria who is overseeing efforts to find homes and get families situated here.

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