Family keeps up search for home
Four of five refugee families who came to the Fargo-Moorhead area looking for a better life settled into apartments Saturday. But Senad Djemaili's family of nine continues searching for a permanent place to call home. "We keep hoping but we haven...
Four of five refugee families who came to the Fargo-Moorhead area looking for a better life settled into apartments Saturday.
But Senad Djemaili's family of nine continues searching for a permanent place to call home.
"We keep hoping but we haven't heard anything," Bonnie Zeck said of the search for a place large enough to house his family.
Zeck and her husband, the Rev. Richard Zeck, are working to find a permanent place for the family.
Temporary housing on the Concordia College campus for all of the related families expired Saturday. The five families have 28 members and two babies on the way.
Volunteers spent most of Saturday moving the families and scrambling to help them settle into their new homes.
"It's been a very long day," said Tammie Yak, self-sufficiency coordinator for Cultural Diversity Resources. "We don't have enough beds for everybody."
All of the families moved to Minnesota from Illinois last month looking for work. They've moved from town to town in their search for a permanent home.
One local family agreed to take Senad Djemaili's family into their home temporarily to keep his children, ages 2 to 13, off the streets.
"It's very short term," Yak said.
The family's size has been a stumbling block in finding permanent housing, she said.
One Moorhead landlord offered to rent a home large enough for them, but wanted too much money, Yak said.
"I know somebody out there in Moorhead has a four- or five-bedroom (home)," she said. "There has to be somebody."
The Djemailis, who are Albanian Roma, came to the United States from Kosovo as refugees last fall. The Roma, known as gypsies, are an ethnic minority in central Europe.
The families want to remain in Minnesota to qualify for assistance programs, and the men are looking for work.
"These are good men," Bonnie Zeck said. "They can work but they need someone to hire them."
A coalition of individuals and local groups, including Presentation Sisters and the Salvation Army, donated money to help cover deposits and first month's rent for the families' four apartments in south Moorhead.
Volunteers continue to collect donations of furniture, food, diapers and money for the families.
If you'd like to make a donation, call Yak at (701) 526-3002 or send your donation to Cultural Diversity Resources, 303 Roberts St., Fargo, 58102.
Readers can reach Minnesota Regional Editor Steven P. Wagner at (701) 241-5542