Archive for the ‘funding’ Category
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 29, 2013
The U.S. State Department has not responded to many questions posed by a media outlet in Athens, Georgia which has looked at the refugee resettlement program, though a recent article by the newspaper is pro-resettlement. The state government claims refugees are undue burden on limited state resources. Resettlement agencies claim refugees pay taxes, buy homes, and support education, and invest in their communities. They also claim that fewer refugees allowed to resettle in the state this year has resulted in a reduction in services to refugees already here. In the meantime resettlement agencies have also been making a late attempt to spread refugees out to other parts of metro-Atlanta and the state so as not to overburden local resettlement sites. An article in the Athens Banner-Herald discusses these and other related issues:
…Resettlement agencies prefer to place new refugees close to family or existing ethnic communities to ease the transition to life in the U.S. Family ties and communities are often bundled around resources – agency offices, English language classes, jobs – necessary to acclimation.
…the Georgia Department of Human Services to ask for a reduction of refugees coming to the state in 2013, citing school district budget shortfalls, and health and safety concerns. The U.S. Department of State would not confirm if other states had made similar requests.
“We regularly receive feedback from stakeholders involved in the refugee resettlement process and take those into account as we finalize the placement plan for the upcoming year,” wrote state department spokesperson Laura Seal in an email.
The department declined to say how regularly these adjustments are made.
Georgia is home to the seventh largest refugee population in the country. Media reports have not listed other states as requesting reductions.
Georgia’s rationale for the cuts doesn’t hold water, according to the agencies that support resettlement. Problems allegedly caused by refugees often are bottled in DeKalb and Fulton counties. But the impact of the cuts has impacted services to refugees throughout the state, refugee advocates said, and has strained the state and agency relationship supposed to benefit refugees…
…In August, just after refugee agencies submitted their annual capacity proposal to the U.S. State Department, a number it uses to determine refugee placement in Georgia, DHS sent a letter to the federal agency requesting a 50 percent reduction in refugee resettlings in the state.
The reduction, in effect, ended up closer to 20 percent, though an examination of arrivals in the first two quarters of 2013 shows no sign of abatement. The reduction lowered the maximum amount of refugees coming to the state, potentially with little impact on overall arrivals, but directly impacted the budgets of aid agencies, which receive federal funding based on the number of expected resettlements…
…[state officials have complained that refugees have incurred costs the state can’t handle, yet] Repeated requests for detailed information on costs incurred by refugees went unfilled by the Georgia DHS. A February article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted a state official estimating the cost at $6.7 million, an amount that included education costs… Read more here
Posted in capacity, funding, Georgia, moratorium / restriction / reduction, Office of Admissions, openess and transparency in government, Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA), Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA) | Tagged: Athens, Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies, CRSA, georgia, IRC, refugee family services, refugees, resettlement, RRISA, World Relief | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 5, 2013
A group of nonprofit organizations in Buffalo, while admitting there are too many of them claim they are saving taxpayers $200 million per year through a variety of activities. One of the numerous local refugee resettlement agencies, Jewish Family Services of Buffalo and Erie County, claims it saves the taxpayer $2 million per year. The figures are based on a study by the group of nonprofits, the Agency Executives Association, which uses funny math to come up with the Jewish Family Services numbers. They claim that the 2008 LIRS cost analysis study (see our analysis here at D.5) of refugee resettlement claimed that expenditures per refugee was $3,480 per month. It wasn’t. It was $3,492 based on the first three months in the US per refugee case (a case could be a refugee family). Then, they don’t bother to subtract the amount that the government covers, e.g. the State Department contract money for initial resettlement. Instead, they give Jewish Family Services credit for paying all costs. An article at The Buffalo News has the story with claims based on these bizarre calculations:
Would you invest $1 to save $11?
That’s the return rate for tax dollars spent on a variety of services provided by area nonprofit agencies, according to a new study by a local group of nonprofit executives.
The study by the Agency Executives Association examined programs at two dozen area agencies to come up with its government savings estimates…
Taxpayers also save through services that reduce the number of kids who end up in juvenile detention and that move people from welfare into jobs…
The AEA, an affiliate of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, represents 142 nonprofit agencies.
Looking at programs run by 24 area agencies, the study found that taxpayers save an estimated $200 million per year.
Some other nonprofits in the report included… Jewish Family Services…
Jewish Family Services’ refugee resettlement program, which costs $333,812 for 150 refugees, is estimated to save the government $2.5 million. Compass House provides shelter for 307 young people at a cost of $520,590, saving an estimated $10.9 million – the expense of housing those youth in a detention facility for a year.
The programs represent a broad cross section of services provided by an estimated 6,000 nonprofit organizations. Nearly 300 of those agencies operate with revenues of more than $1 million, generating a local economic impact of $2.7 billion.
“The whole intent was not to produce a definitive study on the issue. The whole intent was to begin the discussion,” said Paul C. Atkinson, chief executive officer and president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo and president of the AEA…
Atkinson acknowledged – as many funders have argued in the past – that the area probably has too many nonprofit organizations.
But an appropriate discussion should be held to determine adequate funding levels and to find agencies and programs that can deliver services most effectively and efficiently, he said… Read more here
Posted in funding, Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County | Tagged: Buffalo, government program, nonprofits, refugees, resettlement, savings, spending, taxpayers | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on March 16, 2013
Ephraim Assefa arrived in Chicago as an Ethiopian refugee almost eight years ago. Today he is the one helping refugees adapt to their new life in the United States, working as the case manager at the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago.
The Ethiopian association is one of the refugee resettlement agencies in Illinois, which are struggling under a triple burden as the number of refugees steadily climbs: large cuts in federal funding, a greater range of native languages among refugees and the recession
“There are a lot of challenges,” Assefa said. “In terms of communications, refugees have a language barrier and secondly, because of a high level of education or the economic situation, getting employment is currently a challenge.”
Illinois has received about 23,220 refugees from 66 countries since 2000, and the flow has steadily increased since 2006, according to data of refugee arrivals in Illinois from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement… Read more here
The article talks about refugee resettlement agencies “struggling under a triple burden as the number of refugees steadily climbs: large cuts in federal funding, a greater range of native languages among refugees and the recession.” What large cuts – the cuts that may occur if Congress doesn’t address required spending cuts? That’s an if not a current fact.
While its true that refugees are speaking a greater range of languages now, that’s primarily the case for refugees from Africa and Burma/Myanmar. A caption for one of the article’s photos indicates that, “In fiscal year 2012, the top three countries of origin for refugees were Bhutan, Burma and Iraq, and these are expected to be the top three in fiscal year 2013 in the U.S and in Illinois.” Yet, Iraq and Bhutan produced refugees who mostly speak a single language. Arabic in the case of the Iraqis and Nepali in the case of the Nepali-Bhutanese. I think our refugee program got used to the large number of refugees that came from the former Soviet Union in the 1990′s, in which case there was not as much language variation, Russian being the language most of them were fluent in.
Illinois’ state refugee director Edwin Silverman claims that “the subsidies resettlement agencies provide refugees is the only financial resource for those who can’t find work. The recession means those who are looking for a job rely on these subsidies for a longer period than in the past, Silverman said.” Well no. The refugee resettlement grants derive from the US federal government and funds delineated directly for the refugees are merely passed through the resettlement agencies. Refugees also qualify for all public assistance – therefore the refugee resettlement grants are not the only financial resource.
Silverman also claims that, “in addition to providing resettlement service, the resettlement agencies have had to be in a constant process of fund-raising from the private sector, to assure that refugees can pay their rent and don’t go homeless.” I guess my question is why weren’t the resettlement agencies always doing that? There are many more needs that refugees have then just those that the federal government provides for financially with the seed money they gave to resettlement agencies. In the case of the national refugee resettlement agencies they are still almost completely subsidized by the US government.
Posted in Boise, Chicago, employment/jobs for refugees, Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago, funding, Illinois, IRC, language, professionals, RefugeeONE (formerly, Interfaith Refugee & Immigration Ministries), World Relief | Tagged: Chicago, Edwin Silverman, employment, funding, RefugeeOne, refugees, resettlement, World Relief | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 25, 2012
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., has introduced legislation to alter certain aspects of the US refugee resettlement program. The “Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act” would get refugees started on learning English and workforce skills while they are still overseas, and would apparently streamline processing for medical and security clearances. Refugees would also be admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents, instead of requiring the current one year wait. The bill also would supposedly expand federal coverage for a range of programs in employment, housing and health care for refugees. Rep. Keith Ellison’s website does not show any of the text of the bill. An editorial in the Star Tribune trumpets the bill:
Tens of thousands of refugee immigrants come to America every year. And in many cases local communities where they settle struggle to meet their needs because of limited resources.
That’s why recently proposed federal legislation deserves support. Introduced last week by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the “Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act” would reform both the pre- and post-arrival processing of refugees. It would get immigrants started on learning English and workforce skills while they are still overseas and would begin medical and security clearances.
Such immigrants would be admitted to the United States as lawful permanent residents, saving government resources.
The bill also would expand federal help to support a range of programs in employment, housing and health care available to immigrants once they arrive. That would make more funds available to states like Minnesota — with one of the largest per capita populations of refugees in the nation. Between 1999 and 2007 over 34,000 refugees were resettled in Minnesota…
Such advance preparation can connect refugee immigrants to the services they need and integrate them into their new communities more quickly. The faster they learn English and find jobs and housing, the sooner they can do without government assistance… Read more here
Posted in Congress, education, funding, legislation | Tagged: Keith Ellison, legislation, permanent residents, refugees, resettlement, security clearances, Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 20, 2012
The Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, Anne C. Richard, has just released her remarks from the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s 2012 National Consultation. Aside from referring to the federal contractors in attendance as “friends”, a moniker that demonstrates a lack of oversight authority that the refugees and taxpayers would benefit from (one doesn’t really criticize friends after all), Richard ticked off State Department achievements of recent years. The doubling of the amount of money the State Department provides to help with the initial reception and placement of refugees was cited as the first achievement. This increase in funds, in part to the federal refugee contractors, was accompanied with not a single increase in the contractor’s responsibilities. Also mentioned is that the State Department will now guarantee refugee contractors a minimum amount of funding (this shows the power of the federal refugee contractors since the State Department refugee office has ignored our every request for additional assistance to refugees, such as requiring contractors to provide refugees with such additional minimum items as umbrellas, hangers, phones, dictionaries, and stamps & envelopes). Richard also mentions that the State Department has championed more consultation at the local level to make sure that they listen to local communities. Except, it was the State of Tennessee that championed this issue by passing a state law to require this. Richard’s remarks are found at the State Department website:
Thank you and good morning. It is an honor to be here and a pleasure to be among so many friends…
In traveling around the United States, I’ve heard from city and municipal leaders, employers, school officials and most importantly, from refugees themselves about their successes and concerns for the program…
I do want to quickly tick off some of the recent improvements made in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration to the resettlement program.
· In 2010, under my predecessor Eric Schwartz, and I think most of you know this by now, we doubled the amount of money we provide to help with the initial reception and placement of refugees.
· We’ve given partner agencies a guaranteed minimum amount of funding – what we call it floor funding – so that resettlement agencies can manage their workforce and provide quality reception and placement services to arriving refugees – even if a lower than expected number of refugees are admitted or if there are unavoidable delays in arrivals…
· At the local level, we’ve championed more consultation. We want to make sure that we listen to local communities that welcome refugees and provide the services needed for successful resettlement… Read more here
Posted in Ann Richard, Assistant Secretary of the PRM, funding, local officials, failure to notify, ORR, PRM, public/private partnership | Tagged: Anne C. Richard, baseline, federal contractors, minimum funding, National Consultation, Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR, refugees, resettlement | 5 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on September 16, 2012
Catholic Charities in Allentown has decided to shutter its refugee resettlement program in Allentown, Penn. The agency is apparently claiming the reason is due to federal refugee resettlement cuts. The article points to “decline in federal funds”, although only citing a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations committee recommendation for 2013. Except, there hasn’t been any cut to ORR funds. Its true that in the previous two years the Republican dominated House made similar proposed cuts, but the Senate then voted those down. An article in The Morning Call examines Catholic Charities’ refugee resettlement program closing in Allentown:
…[There have been] 1,400 [refugees resettled] since Catholic Charities [in the Diocese of Allentown] started its refugee resettlement program in 1975 to aid Vietnamese fleeing their homeland after the fall of Saigon.
But the program has quietly ended. So has the agency’s venerable foster care program, which found stable families for hundreds of children displaced from their homes by domestic troubles.
In the first case, federal funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement — part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — has been a target of deep cuts in recent years and continues to face the knife. The appropriation recommended for 2013 by a House budget subcommittee is $658 million, about $112 million less than the current year.
The decline in federal funds has meant fewer clients for the public and private agencies that partner with the government in resettlement. Catholic Charities Executive Director Pam Russo said the agency placed 137 refugees in the 2010 fiscal year, 69 the following year and 43 through the middle of this year.
At that point, the agency decided to get out of the resettlement business… Read more here
Posted in Catholic, funding, ORR account, Pennsylvania | Tagged: Allentown, catholic charities, federal funding, Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR, refugees, resettlement | 1 Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on August 29, 2012
According to a blurb in the Catholic Culture publication in 2011 The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB) received 92.5% of its budget from federal grants and contracts. Apparently the person writing the piece does not understand that the refugee travel loan fees also derive from the federal government, meaning that USSCB actually gets 97.7% of its budget from the federal government (refugee resettlement contractors may keep 25% of the travel loan money that the US government requires refugees to pay back for their travel to the US). The USSCB is the largest refugee resettlement contractor in the US and resettled 14,285 people–25% of refugees entering the United States in 2011. Strangely, the highly touted “private sector” contribution factor of the “public-private cooperation” management style of the resettlement program derives mainly from federal government oversight agencies such as the US Department of State. Catholic Culture has the numbers:
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services has published its 2011 annual report.
According to the report, over 92.5% of Migration and Refugee Services’ $72.1 million budget came from federal grants and contracts, while under $25,000 came from private donations.
Nearly 80% of expenses were allotted to diocesan programs and direct assistance to refugees and other clients. In 2011, Migration and Refugee Services resettled 14,285 people–25% of refugees entering the United States… Read more here
source: Migration and Refugee Services: 2011 annual report (USCCB)
Posted in Catholic, faith-based, funding, public/private partnership, State Department, Travel Loan Program, USCCB | Tagged: federal contracts, federal grants, Migration and Refugee Services, refugees, resettlement, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB | 2 Comments »
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 5, 2012
The mayor of Lynn, MA is putting out alerts about the fiscal pressure experienced by schools in her city, apparently due to refugee secondary migration. Secondary migration is refugees leaving the city they were initially settled in and, under their own volition, going elsewhere due to a whole number of reasons, e.g. to be near friends and relatives, to find a place that has more or higher paying jobs, to seek a less alien climate, to move to a place with a larger community of people from their ethnic group and/or group of national of origin, etc. The main problem here I think is that federal funds are insufficient to help schools impacted by refugee arrivals – the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s grant, known as the Refugee School Impact Program, doesn’t come close to meeting needs.
An article in The Daily News explains some basic details of the problem in Lynn, although it also shows that the mayor is taking a winding and confused course through government channels, even going to the UNHCR, and gets facts wrong about several of the federal agencies:
…[Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy's Chief of Staff, Jamie Cerulli] said after getting bounced from office to office she finally spoke to Barbara Day with the state department’s office of Refugee Resettlement Administration for Children and Families.
“She said for Fiscal Year 2011 they approved 25 refugees to come to the Lynn area,” Cerulli said. “She also said in 2012 it looks like there is approval for 28 … but that’s such a small number. If they’re not coming from there then where are they coming from?”
Cerulli said Day noted that if immigrants already have family in the area they are more likely to gravitate to the same area. Day was not available Thursday for comment and calls to the U.S. State Department of Health and Human Services were not immediately returned.
Cerulli said she plans to keep digging at the federal and state level to try and determine if Lynn has been officially deemed a haven city while also trying to determine exactly what drives immigrants to Lynn.
Kennedy has always emphasized her administration has gone the extra step to celebrate the ethnic diversity and welcome immigrants to the city and she said she would never deny a child or its family services… Read more here
Posted in Boston, capacity, children, funding, language, Office of Admissions, ORR, school for refugee children, schools, secondary migration, refugee, UN (United Nations) | Tagged: Barbara Day, Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Lynn MA, Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR, Refugee School Impact Program, refugees, resettlement, schools, secondary migration | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 21, 2012
After the failure of the effort in New Hampshire to enact a refugee moratorium state law that would allow municipalities to ban new refugees from resettling locally for one year, the local conservative Union Leader newspaper has come out with an editorial calling for a so-called “compromise moratorium”. (Never mind that the proposed law was fatally flawed by singling out a specific group of people and restricting their constitutional right to freedom of movement, and by trying to preempt a federal law that has supremacy.) The editorial staff now says that a compromise would be to “let” refugees resettle to Manchester but ban them from receiving any “city-financed public benefits for two years.”
I find this perplexing because in all the discussions and newspaper articles about the moratorium issue I don’t remember any clear argument having been established that refugees are somehow a burden to city finances. One side of the debate repeated this over and over, I remember, but no evidence was ever offered. Why is this the central concept that they focus on in regard to refugee resettlement? They seem to want to tie together refugees and welfare usage in our minds usage — in this case, the part that is “city-financed”. Yet, is there any real data supporting this concept, or is it just ideologically based without consideration of facts?
According to a July 9, 2011 Op-ed piece in the Concord Monitor by William J. Gillett, chairman of the board of the International Institute of New England refugee resettlement agency, the latest data showed that, “63 percent of refugees in our workforce training program gained employment within 180 days of their arrival.” Then there was the March 16, 2012 article in the Concord Monitor that claimed that a state house floor debate, “focused on the frustration of Manchester officials, who have complained that a flood of non-English speaking refugees had lowered their school test scores and burdened city welfare services.” (emphasis added) Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas also complained that refugee children were lowering local school test results. But what about this welfare thing?
Isn’t most welfare provided at the state level and mostly financed by the federal government? What city benefits is the Union Leader referring to? If you check out the web page for the City of Manchester’s Welfare Department it turns out that the only welfare the website lists is temporary emergency assistance — although there is also mention of a work program and the City’s participation as a screening agency for Manchester Emergency Housing:
The Manchester, NH City Welfare Department provides temporary emergency assistance to city residents for the basic necessities of life when no other resource is available. Assistance is rendered in voucher form only.
The Welfare Department also operates a work program and participates as a screening agency during working hours for Manchester Emergency Housing, a non-profit family shelter… Read more here
The site then directs users to links to the State Division of Health and Human Services for all the typical things that most people think of as “welfare” – Medicaid, food stamps (SNAP), child care, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), etc.
So, it seems that the Union Leader is claiming that the City’s welfare burden is essentially the temporary emergency assistance that residents use when they are in a crisis. Is that it? If so, how much could this amount to? Apparently there was a spike in the numbers of refugees needing this assistance back in June 2011, but that was twenty-six families. A July 10, 2011 article in the Union Leader indicated that twenty-six refugee families had recently been in the city welfare office looking for help after a cut off of their state rental assistance. But nowhere else from the past ten months of discussion about the proposed moratorium do I see any other facts about refugees’ City welfare usage.
Furthermore, shouldn’t emergency assistance to residents in any city be based on need, not on what class of people or group that applicants may belong to? Restricting it in such a way would, once again, be unconstitutional. This type of talk about “compromise” is not real or constructive.
Posted in funding, International Institute of NE, International Institute of New Hampshire, moratorium / restriction / reduction, New Hampshire | Tagged: manchester, moratorium, New Hampshire, refugees, resettlement, temporary emergency assistance, welfare | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Christopher Coen on April 11, 2012
Catholic Family Service in Amarillo has decided to reduce new refugee resettlement numbers by half due to concerns of overload from the local school district, according to an article in the Amarillo Globe-News. Resettlement will now be limited to “family reunification cases” – refugees who are resettling to be reunified with local family members. (The article also gives various confusing numbers for the amount of money the State Department gives for initial resettlement needs (intended as seed money). As of last year the amount was $1800 per refugee, with $700 available for resettlement agency overhead, $900 minimum to each refugee, and $200 that resettlement agencies may redirect to the neediest refugees at the agency. The $1800 was supposedly increased this year, but no numbers yet available.)
Catholic Family Service has lowered the number of new refugees it helps settle in Amarillo to help school officials better handle unique needs posed by refugee children and help the organization meet budget cuts.
Roughly 800 to 900 of the 1,100 refugee students enrolled in Amarillo schools had little to no formal schooling when they arrived in the U.S., and that has created a major learning block, said Kevin Phillips, executive director of student performance for the Palo Duro High School cluster…
…Catholic Family Service, a nonprofit organization, is one of two groups that receives federal funds to help newly arrived refugees settle in Amarillo. Executive Director Nancy Koons said the organization has decided to take in no more than 200 arrivals per year, down from 400 in previous years. Koons said the arrivals will be limited to “family reunification cases.”…
…Koons said [Amarillo Independent School District] principals and school nurses have expressed concerns about the challenges posed by refugee children.
“It seems like we were creating needs by bringing in too many refugees,” she said… Read more here
Posted in Amarillo, Catholic, Catholic Family Service, Amarillo, children, funding, R&P, schools, Somali Bantu | Tagged: Amarillo, Catholic Family Service, refugees, resettlement, schools | Leave a Comment »