"When two large families that had fled Afghanistan moved into the basement of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Newburyport just over a year ago, there were 15 kids between two sets of parents. Today they're still living in the church, and there's a 16th child.
"Advocates helping them say the fact that they haven't found permanent housing shows there aren't sufficient systems in place to help them build a life here.
"'And so what has become clear is that ... if it doesn't exist, we have to create it,' said Rev. Jarred Mercer, rector at St. Paul’s.
"In the past year, Mercer has had to assume the role of housing advocate."