A year-and-a-half after refugees from Myanmar faced a serious lack of assistance in Waterloo after migrating to the area for jobs, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement is now channeling funds to the immigrants to help with learning English, finding housing and fulfilling other resettlement needs. An article in the Waterloo Cedar Rapids Courier has more:
WATERLOO, Iowa — Federal help is on the way to assist a growing Burmese population in Black Hawk County.
The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement awarded $150,000 to help the county’s “secondary refugee migrants” learn English, secure housing and fulfill other resettlement needs.
The money went to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants-Des Moines to open a sub-office in Waterloo at a site yet to be determined.
That is good news for a growing number of Burmese here, most drawn by jobs at Tyson Fresh Meats.
The term “secondary refugees” refers to people who migrate from the community they originally resettled in when coming to the U.S.
“We can confirm at least 300 secondary migrants in the area, mostly Burmese,” said Valerie Stubbs, USCRI Des Moines director. “We estimate another 300 to 600 will be moving to Black Hawk County.”
People within the Burmese community actually estimate they have closer to 800 living here, with more arriving each week.
The need increased when Lutheran Social Services, instumental in aiding a Bosnian influx in the ’90s, closed the doors of its Waterloo resettlement office just as the Burmese influx began…
A USCRI release said the 17-month program also will focus on helping the Waterloo community, schools and businesses with translation and interpreting services, as well as building relationships between community volunteers and the newcomers… Read more here