Catholic Charities Welcomes Final Afghan Family to Oklahoma City

February 16, 2022

Case managers from Catholic Charities gather at Will Rogers World Airport.
Case managers from Catholic Charities gather at Will Rogers World Airport.


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City welcomed the last expected family of Afghan refugees at Will Rogers World Airport on Tuesday evening, on par with the United States government goal of moving all refugees from military bases by February 15. A large group gathered to greet the family of 7 at the airport, making it a total of 1,000 refugees resettled in Oklahoma City since mid-September. To date, more than 74,400 Afghan evacuees have joined new communities across the country.

“This effort reflected the best angels of Oklahoma City’s nature,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “It maintains our existing reputation as a welcoming community. I am so proud that we became a national model in this effort, and I am so grateful to Catholic Charities and its partners for making us proud. I look forward to seeing what this new Afghan community adds to our city in the years to come.”

On average it takes a little over a month to move families into permanent housing. A job developer employed by Catholic Charities works with individuals who identify as head-of-household to find work suitable to their skills and the location of their home.

“We’ve just touched the surface in terms of resettling the refugees into Oklahoma,” said Mark Chan, director of refugee resettlement. “Arrival is just the initial step.”

The next few years will be vital in helping these families find sustainability.

Long-term success will hinge on the next phases to educate, employ and find housing so they can thrive in their new environment.

“We are currently providing cultural and employment orientation classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and other educational components that will aid in rebuilding their lives. Every single child in permanent housing so far is in enrolled in school. It’s amazing to see so much happen so quickly, thanks to community support and excellent partnerships,” said Theresa Flannery, senior director of family support services.

Catholic Charities has an alliance of community partners that have helped in the resettlement efforts. To date, every home that the refugees have moved into have been completely sponsored by donors in the community.

Before entering the United States, Afghan refugees must undergo a rigorous vetting process including screening conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, National Counterterrorism Center and other biometric screening processes.

Those interested in supporting the resettlement of Afghans through Catholic Charities can click here for more information.

###

About Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Guided by Catholic teaching, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City serves those in need, regardless of their faith, through transformative, empowering and dignity-affirming social service programs that seek to eliminate material, emotional and spiritual poverty across Central and Western Oklahoma. To learn more, call 405-523-3000, visit ccaokc.org, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To download press release, click here

To download press photo, click here