Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Posts Tagged ‘nepalese’

Columbus apartment complex where resettlement agencies placed refugees riddled with problems

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 23, 2013

code

An apartment complex in Columbus where refugee resettlement agencies placed refugees because of low rental rates is riddled with 63 code violations. A Nepali-Bhutanese refugee who lives in a unit with his family says his unit was plagued with bedbugs last year and said he was worried about his family’s safety. Another Nepali-Bhutanese refugee said the staircases are broken and lights don’t work. Community Refugee and Immigration Services and World Relief Columbus stopped placing refugees in the complex after last year’s fire publicity, but have not evacuated the other refugees to better housing despite the extensive code violations. The units are poorly maintained, have bedbugs and roaches, leaky and defective plumbing and electrical problems, according to an inspection report. I think this case case shows the wisdom of placing refugees only according to rental unit prices while ignoring basic safety, repair and habitability issues which, by the way, are violations of the State Department refugee contracts. Will the State Department be taking any action against its refugee contractors in Columbus? I’ll believe it when I see it. An article in The Columbus Dispatch has the details of this story:

Columbus prosecutors say that a North Side apartment complex that rents to scores of refugees is riddled with code violations that owners have ignored for months.

Prosecutors filed a complaint yesterday with Franklin County Environmental Court against Summit Park Apartments. The complaint says a code-enforcement inspector has found 63 violations since September.

The inspection report said multiple units were poorly maintained, had bedbugs and roaches, leaky and defective plumbing and electrical problems…

In three inspections since November, building inspectors found wooden balconies that had deteriorated to the point that they were unsafe. The inspections also determined that concrete and steel balconies there must be evaluated and repaired…

In August, families from Bhutan, Somalia and other countries were displaced after fire ravaged one of the buildings, at 4349 Walford St. The fire started in a fenced-in storage area that had been filled with furniture.

Fire investigators said it was arson. At least two refugee agencies, , have not placed anyone at the complex since then.

They still had code violations that hadn’t got taken care of that got worse after the fire,” said Kay Lipovsky, office manager for World Relief Columbus.

Agencies place refugees at complexes such as Summit Park because rents are inexpensive, she said.

One resident, Yam Subba, a Bhutanese Nepali refugee who lives in a unit with his wife, their 2-year-old daughter and his mother, said his unit was plagued with bedbugs last year. Subba, 28, said he was worried about his family’s safety.

Another Bhutanese Nepali refugee, Moti Rai, who lives in a unit with his father, said the staircases are broken and lights don’t work. Still, Rai, 27, said he lived in a small hut in a refugee camp in Bhutan. “I think this is better than that.”… Read more here

Posted in apartment building fires, bed bugs, Columbus, Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), housing, housing, substandard, Nepali Bhutanese, safety, World Relief | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Third case of threatening notes left at refugees’ homes in Concord

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 25, 2012

Another case of insulting notes have been left at the home of another refugee family in Concord. The notes said that the refugee family members are “inconsiderate assholes” who receive everything for free and that they needed help getting kicked out of their apartment. Similar threatening notes were left in August and last September. The refugees also report that groups of young people will sometimes throw stones at them when they turn their backs, and that people sometimes block the doors to the buildings or the landings of the stairways, and tell the immigrants they need to pay $5 or $10 to pass. An article in the Concord Monitor has the story:

Two notes insulting immigrants and refugees were left taped to the door of a family of Bhutanese refugees, the third incident of racist notes on refugee homes in Concord since September 2011…

The notes were left taped to their door in an apartment building on Eastern Avenue – one on Sunday and one on Monday. One was shorter and written in marker; the other filled an 8-by-11-inch white paper, and was written in pen.

They said, among other things, that the Gurung family members are “inconsiderate assholes” who receive everything for free.

Written as if by the Gurungs, one of the notes said, “help us get kicked out of our apartment”…

This is the third incident of racist notes left for recent refugee immigrants to Concord. In September 2011 and August this year, notes appeared written in black marker on several homes in the South End.

The same detective is working on this case, and his initial assessment is that it is not related, said Concord police Lt. Timothy O’Malley…

Other minority residents from the complex warned him groups of young white people will sometimes throw stones at them when their backs are turned, Lal Gurung said.

People also sometimes block the doors to the buildings or the landings of the stairways, and tell the immigrants they need to pay $5 or $10 to pass, he said.

The bullying can be especially prominent in the mornings and afternoons as refugee children go to and from their school bus stop, he said...

Tips on the case can be shared anonymously by calling 226-3100, by visiting the Crimeline website, or by texting TIP234 and sending a message to CRIMES. Read more here

Posted in hate crimes, Nepali Bhutanese, New Hampshire, xenophobia/nationalism/isolationism | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Poverty, stress-related ailments, unemployment and struggle with the English language concern to Oakland’s Bhutanese refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 14, 2012

Bhutanese refugees are struggling with poverty, stress-related ailments, unemployment and the English language in Oakland, California. The refugees lack many needed services in the East Bay area that could help them meet self-sufficiency, partly due to the poor economy and related state budget cuts. An article in the Oakland Tribune explains:

Five years after a few pioneering families began trickling into East Oakland and Alameda, a burgeoning Bhutanese exile community is happy to have left refugee camps but still struggling to adjust to Bay Area life, according to the first report to survey their well-being.

“The community is still trying to survive,” said Jiwan Subba, president of the Alameda-based Bhutanese Community in California, a year-old organization helping link the refugees with jobs, health services and fellowship…

…Subba’s group used the occasion to reveal some of the economic and social problems felt by the community of several hundred refugees, nearly all of whom have arrived in the past five years.

In a survey of 91 Bhutanese immigrants in Oakland and Alameda, about 68 percent had incomes below the federal poverty line, more than half reported stress-related ailments, 42 percent are unemployed and many say they struggle with the English language, which makes it harder for them to find good jobs… Read more here

Posted in economic self-sufficiency, employment/jobs for refugees, ESL & ELL, language, mental health, Nepali Bhutanese, Oakland | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Fire guts apartment building in Phoenix

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 8, 2012

A refugee from Nepal barely escaped with their lives from an early morning apartment building fire in Phoenix. An article and video report at Fox 10 News has the details:

PHOENIXA fire destroyed an apartment building early Sunday morning near 27th Avenue and Indian School Road.

Fire fighters arrived at the Willow Springs apartment complex around 2:30 a.m. The charred skeleton of the building left behind shows just how out of control that fire got.

Crews rushed into the inferno, a two alarm fire that had everyone on high alert.

“It was hot, it caught the first and then the second the third and the roof and jumped over,” said Dan Garcia, a witness.

“Real orange, about six feet tall big, it didn’t take long for that to go up,” said Michael Williams, a witness…

As many as 10 units were affected and nearly 30 people were displaced and forced to spend the night at a make shift Red Cross shelter.

Lek Ghaley and his family, refugees from Napal, barely escaped with their lives.

“The fire was there, I was here, I was trying to end the fire but I can’t,” said Ghaley. 

Smoke was everywhere said Lek’s dad, who lost everything but his green card and documents.

“We had people trapped on the third floor, the guys were able to knock the fire down [and] get them down the stairs ,” said Captain Scott McDonald, with the Phoenix Fire Department.

McDonald said four children under the age of 5 were taken to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation as a precaution… Read more here

Posted in apartment building fires, Nepali Bhutanese, Phoenix | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Refugees flee fire at Columbus apartment complex

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 21, 2012

Dozens of Bhutanese refugees living at a Columbus apartment complex have been displaced following a fire on Monday evening. A blurb at WSYX ABC-6 News explains:

COLUMBUS — No one was physically injured during an intense blaze at Summit Park Apartments Monday evening. For some however, the fire reminded them of what’s now considered their “past life.”

“About 500 homes,” Laxmi Acharay recalled. “All of us, 500 homes gone at once.”

Acharay is one of dozens who now live at the apartment complex who came to Columbus from a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal…

Three dozen homes had to be evacuated as Columbus Firefighters battled the flames.

Acharay’s apartment was untouched by the flames. He’s thankful he won’t have to completely relive the nightmare that once left him homeless in another country. Read more here

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the fire was an arson:

…No injuries were reported in the fire, which started in a fenced-in storage area filled with old furniture next to the apartment building at 4349 Walford St. Investigators say it was arson, Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Michael Fowler said, although they don’t know yet how it was set… Read more here

Posted in apartment building fires, Columbus, housing, Nepali Bhutanese, Somali | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Refugees in East Oakland left without medical care

Posted by Christopher Coen on May 25, 2012

In November a report came out that revealed that 60% of Myanmar refugees living in Oakland were trapped in poverty. In December Iraqi refugees reported that the IRC had exposed them to extreme violence by resettling them to East Oakland (Nepali-Bhutanese refugees have also been mugged). Now comes word that a group of 22 Nepali-Bhutanese refugees in East Oakland are HIV positive and have been getting no health care at all. With a six-month wait for primary care appointments at a local health clinic, one of the refugees died while waiting. An article at New American Media mentions these facts:

OAKLAND, Calif.–Laura Lopez was running late. Inside the common room at Street Level Health Project clinic on Oakland’s International Boulevard, two Cambodian women and two Eritrean men were waiting for her. The group, representing Cambodian Community Development, Inc. and Eritrean Youth for Change, were here for one last meeting to prepare for an upcoming community health fair.

With the help of Lopez’s clinic, the refugee organizations were reaching out to their members to help them get basic health services…

…East Oakland…has been a resettlement site for a small but increasing numbers of refugees fleeing political repression in Burma, Bhutan, Nepal and other countries. Through one of their volunteers, who works at Eastmont Mall’s clinic, Lopez heard about a group of 22 Nepalese refugees who were HIV positive and getting no health care. Thus began the clinic’s work with the East Bay Refugee Forum and its members.

At the prep meeting for the community fair, Lopez and the refugee leaders were strategizing about how to pre-screen as many of their members as possible for health coverage enrollment at the May 19 event. This is no easy feat. At prior similar events, thousands of people eager for medical care had to be turned back for lack of required documents.

Jiwan Subba and Laxman Mahat from the Bhutanese Community in California have arrived to the meeting late from work. They raised the issue of Eastmont Mall’s and Highland Hospital’s six-month wait for primary care appointments. “By the time somebody gets an appointment, they’re dead,” Subba observed.

Mahat added that it happened to one of their community members… Read more here

Posted in Catholic Charities of the East Bay (Oakland), IRC, medical care, Nepali Bhutanese, Oakland | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Akron sees influx of Nepali-Bhutanese refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on May 23, 2012

There is now a surge of Nepali-Bhutanese refugees resettling to Akron, Ohio. This happens when refugees seek to join their relatives already resettled in a local area (refugees termed as “geo cases”) as well as my secondary migration from other US cities (the Nepali-Bhutanese may be hearing from friends and families that jobs are available in Akron). Of course the surge puts pressure on the local resettlement agency to find a lot of material-item donations – e.g. furniture, essential household items, clothes, toiletries – in a relatively short period. Akron’s Beacon-Journal newspaper explains:

When members of the Bhutanese family arrived in Akron from a refugee camp in Nepal, they had nothing but the clothes on their backs and a few keepsakes in a bag.

The International Institute of Akron provided them with a furnished apartment, a hot meal and all of life’s little essentials, including kitchen gadgets, towels, sheets, blankets and cleaning items.

It was a difficult life in the camps for 20 years,” said Bhim Subba, 50, who traveled to Akron with his wife and two children in February. “We were seeing no future there and decided to be resettled.”

The institute expects to serve a record number of refugees this month, with 85 already arriving as of late last week and the possibility of more in the remainder of the month. The figure is more than double the 30 to 40 refugees the agency normally gets in a month.

With the influx, the institute is looking for donations of basic items for the families.

We need it all,” said Debbie May-Johnson, executive director of the institute…

…May-Johnson said most of the refugees coming into Akron are from Bhutanese refugee camps in Nepal and Burmese camps in Thailand. She said they are asking to come to Akron because they already have family here, with refugees from these camps settling in the city for the past five years.

May-Johnson said the institute has an equal number of refugees who come from other U.S. cities to Akron, seeking job opportunities and affordable housing… Read more here

Posted in Akron, International Institute of Akron, Nepali Bhutanese, secondary migration, refugee | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Segue Refugee Partners Ministries Hopes To Convert Bhutanese In Dallas

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 23, 2012

A Baptist organization is hoping to lead Nepali-Bhutanese refugees in Dallas away from their Hindu cultural roots. Segue Refugee Partners Ministries will help out the refugees as a prelude to their agenda.

Will they be honest and upfront with the refugees and tell them what the plan is?

…Matthew Johnston and Elizabeth Hall lead Segue Refugee Partners Ministries, the nonprofit organization… They have been connecting with Bhutanese refugees for more than a year…Segue’s vision is to build partnerships and relationships between these Bhutanese refugees and American Christians who are willing to relate and help out in whatever way they can. The refugees have a variety of needs, from help them deal with insurance-related issues regarding health care to finding jobs in the city. The hope is also to lead the refugees from a Hindu background into a relationship with Jesus Christ… Read more here

Posted in Baptist, converting refugees, Dallas/Fort Worth, faith-based, Hindu, Nepali Bhutanese | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Attacks On Bhutanese Refugees Continue in Harrisburg, PA

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 19, 2012

A local friend of the Bhutanese refugees in Harrisburg contacted us to report that the attacks on the refugees have continued since police reported earlier this month that they suspected a small group of local teens.

I live near Harrisburg Pennsylvania and became involved with the refugee community there in 2010. I am deeply troubled by the victimization that they experience and would like to see more attention brought to it…most of it in the area on Green Street, but some in the area of Magnolia Hill (Thomas street off of Market). Robberies, assaults, and even entry into homes. It has them afraid to be outside. Some families have already fled the Green Street area…[since the police began investigating a group of teenagers] the problems haven’t gotten better…it’s probably the same…kids. Police don’t really help. However, the refugees are starting to think defensively. I’ve bought pepper spray for some of them and instructed them on its use.

Posted in Harrisburg-Mechanicsburg, Nepali Bhutanese, police, safety | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Refugees In Harrisburg Hit By String Of Strong-Arm Robberies and Attacks

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 2, 2012

***UPDATE** February 7, 2012 — Police say a group of five or six local high school age teens responsible.

Police believe that refugees have been targeted in a string of strong-arm robberies and attacks since January in Harrisburg, Penn. A blurb at FOX-43 explains:

Since early January into February, Harrisburg Police are investigating a string of strong-arm robberies and attacks that have struck the Uptown Harrisburg neighborhood.

Police believe many of the attacks have targeted refugees…

…The attacks have ripped the quiet and diverse community apart said Tanya Jones, who has several neighbors from Nepal, “They are very descent people to live around.”… Read more here

Posted in Harrisburg-Mechanicsburg, Nepali Bhutanese, police, safety | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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