ANAHEIM, Calif. — Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year, thousands have fled the country to seek asylum in the U.S., many in California.

Enayatullah came to the U.S. seeking asylum with his pregnant wife and two children. They’ve spent the last three months in hotel rooms hoping to find a place to call home.

“It felt like hopelessness when we lost our country. When we went to the airport, we couldn’t control our emotions. We were all crying,” he said in Dari.

What You Need To Know

  • Enayatullah’s family left Afghanistan to seek asylum in the U.S.

  • Their journey has left them in hotel rooms for about three months as they search for housing

  • Mahmood Omid, a case manager with the Tiyya Foundation, says first and last month’s rent, credit and income requirements are barriers for refugees to be accepted into housing

  • Tiyya Foundation, along with other nonprofits and resettlement agencies, are coordinating efforts to help families like Enayatullah’s resettle in the state

His family receives some government and nonprofit assistance that is paying for their hotel stay, but he knows it is limited.

In Afghanistan, Enayatullah said that he had a career in law working with the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Now, he’s working as a night security guard, biking about eight miles each way to make and save money for his future rent. The average cost in the area is about $3,000 per month.

Despite the challenge, Enayatullah has faith it will all work out.

“It’s not important how expensive it is here. My life is dedicated to my wife and children’s happiness. Anywhere it is, even if it is expensive, we will take it for our future,” he said.

Enayatullah’s family has been working with the Tiyya Foundation, a nonprofit that assists with job placement, education and other resources for refugee and immigrant families resettling here.

Mahmood Omid is a case manager with the organization and an Afghan immigrant himself. Currently, the organization is helping 40 families like Enayatullah’s resettle in SoCal. He said 10 families found housing last month. But the cost of rent and finding a landlord to accept refugee renters, especially for larger families of up to 10, has been difficult.

“The problem with housing is that with the property manager, they need credit. They also need someone to have income, to work here and to provide the required document,” Omid said.

Omid estimates that at least 100 Afghan refugee families are still living in hotel rooms, searching for their housing opportunity. While Enayatullah knows his family has a difficult road ahead, he said he’s willing to make that sacrifice for a chance at a brighter future ahead.

“I hope one day my daughter becomes a doctor, my son an engineer and hopefully, after one year passes, I will start college. My English will get better. I will work as hard as I did in my country here.”

More information on how to assist the families or about the Tiyya Foundation can be found here.