Friends of Refugees

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Archive for the ‘employment/jobs for refugees’ Category

Crowdfunded resettlement as complement to government funding program

Posted by Christopher Coen on August 23, 2016

crowdfunded

Prior to World War Two refugees arriving in the US where entirely sponsored by private groups.  In order to assist the large numbers of refugees from the war the US federal government joined in to assist when the war ended. Private funding enjoyed a limited private sponsorship program from 1987 to 1993 (President Reagan’s “private sector initiative”) that complemented the government funded program.  Relaunching a new private funding program could help reduce need for government funding since sponsors have personal and financial incentives to help refugees succeed.  If refugees get back on their feet more quickly, private funders can actually save money by helping refugees become self-sufficient faster, whereas there are no similar incentives for the government-run program.  An article from the Cato Institute blog explains the details:

…The old model of refugee resettlement relies entirely on the government. The president proposes a target sometime in the middle of the year for the next fiscal year and submits a budget to Congress requesting funds to implement the plan. Congress then holds hearings and passes appropriations bills to fund it. Finally, sometime in September, the president releases the final target. It is a top-down, inflexible process, unsuited for our age, where factors can change in seconds based on news 10,000 miles away.

Private refugee sponsorship can fill the defects in the current refugee program. Private sponsorship as it is used in Canada allows groups of individuals or philanthropic organizations to “sponsor” refugees for resettlement in the country, using private funds and private housing to cover the costs. The system is dynamic and provides an outlet for surges in public interest during humanitarian crises…

The government-controlled refugee system needs competition. The United States used to have a limited private sponsorship program from 1987 to 1993. It resettled 16,000 refugees from communism—8,000 Cubans and 8,000 Jews from the Soviet Union. The State Department called the initiative “highly successful.” The program was discontinued by the Clinton administration, citing a lack of need, but now is the perfect time for a relaunch…

Sponsors have personal and financial incentives to help refugees succeed whereas government bureaucrats do not. If refugees become self-sufficient, philanthropists can actually save money by getting refugees on their feet faster. There are no similar incentives for the government-run program… Read more here

Posted in Canadian refugee resettlement pgrm, employment/jobs for refugees, funding, volunteers | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Examining Poultry Industry Where Many Refugees Work

Posted by Christopher Coen on May 11, 2016

Workers routinely denied breaks to use the bathroom — “urinate and defecate while standing on the line” and “wear diapers to work”

bathroombreaks

A new report by Oxfam America alleges that poultry industry workers are “routinely denied breaks to use the bathroom” to optimize the speed of production. The findings are the result of hundreds of interviews with line workers from some of the largest poultry processing companies in the United States, including Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s, and Perdue. They bring the current state of the poultry industry into serious question. An article in the Washington Post has the details:

…While concerns about food safety and animal welfare dominate discussions about the perils of the modern food system, there’s a downside that many might find just as troubling: the often inhumane conditions people who work in the industry face.

A new report by Oxfam America, an arm of the international anti- poverty and injustice group, alleges that poultry industry workers are “routinely denied breaks to use the bathroom” in order to optimize the speed of production. In some cases, according to the group, the reality is so oppressive that workers “urinate and defecate while standing on the line” and “wear diapers to work.” In others, employees say they avoid drinking liquids for long periods and endure considerable pain in order to keep their jobs.

The findings are the result of hundreds of interviews with line workers from some of the largest poultry processing companies in the United States, including Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s, and Perdue. And they bring the current state of the poultry industry into serious question. Competitive forces, they suggest, are driving poultry processors to produce as much meat as possible, as fast as possible, leading companies to mistreat their workers, even if unknowingly…

The concerns raised in the Oxfam report are the latest in a string of evidence that suggests those who work to ensure that chicken is both widely and cheaply available endure harsh treatment and face grueling conditions. A 2013 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found that nearly 80 percent of 266 workers surveyed in Alabama said they were not allowed to use the bathroom when they needed to. Another report, published just last month, found that 86 percent of workers surveyed in Minnesota said they received fewer than two bathroom breaks each week… Read more here

Posted in abuse, employment abuses, poultry production | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Relatively conservative state of Iowa seeks to help refugees integrate

Posted by Christopher Coen on April 5, 2016

Iowa

Iowa

The Iowa state legislature is looking to pass a bill to expand aid for helping refugees find jobs and learn English. The bill would create a program called RefugeeRISE (Rebuild, Integrate, Serve, Empower) that would be a partnership between AmeriCorps and Iowan refugee groups. The majority of refugees — 75 percent — find work within six months. Research shows that those who have access to services are more likely to become self-sufficient sooner. An article at Think Progress has the details:

Over the past five years, Iowa has resettled 10,000 refugees, mostly from Burma. Now the state legislature is looking to pass a bill that would provide the necessary funding to expand aid to resettled refugees in the state through a partnership between AmeriCorps and Iowan refugee groups.

The partnership is called RefugeeRISE (Rebuild, Integrate, Serve, Empower) and looks to provide refugees with the proper skills to resettle and thrive in their new surroundings. Many of the Burmese refugees in Iowa — a relatively conservative state — have integrated into the local workforce and helped stimulate the state’s economy after finding work at meatpacking and food processing plants…

“This is a huge population who are willing to work hard, raise families, build homes and set down roots in Iowa,” Amy Doyle, a supervisor for the program in Des Moines, told the Register. “Why would we not want to give them the assistance they need?”

The Register reported that, “[t]he vast majority [of refugees] — 75 percent — find work within six months. Research shows that those who have access to services are more likely to become self-sufficient sooner”… Read more here

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, employment/jobs for refugees, funding, Iowa, legislation, meatpacking industry | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Worcester’s refugee population has 8.6% higher employment rate than native-born citizens

Posted by Christopher Coen on March 12, 2016

As in other cities refugees in Worcester, Massachusetts have excelled economically. Natives’ median income is almost a full $5,000 dollars less per year, and the refugee population has an 8.6-percent higher employment rate than its native-born citizens. Naturalized foreign-born citizens are also more likely to own homes and open businesses than natives. Looking at the State Department Monitoring reports for the three local refugee resettlement agencies,  Ascentria Care Alliance (also known as Lutheran Social Services) has the best record, followed by Catholic Charities, which had a few problems, followed by the Refugee and Immigration Assistance Center, which had a lot of problems. An article in the Worcester Magazine has the details about the progress of refugees in the city:

Worcester has a thriving immigrant population, many of them refugees looking to make a new start. The city, in fact, is the top destination for refugees in New England.

As this two-part series will show, it is not always easy and not always popular, but the influx of refugees can be good for the community and local economy. According to two separate, recent studies, the city is home to nearly 32,000 foreign-born citizens. That’s about 21 percent of its 181,045 residents — no insignificant number. Between 2007-2012, the Department of State reported 2,196 refugees resettling in Worcester. One study was conducted by the Public Policy Center at UMass-Dartmouth (commissioned by the Seven Hills Foundation), the other was by Dr. Anita Fábos, a Clark University associate professor…

Looking at the Seven Hills Foundation study, citizenship is another indicator of success in the immigrant and refugee population. Naturalized citizens’ median household income is $50,865 versus noncitizens, who pull in $37,944 a year. Naturalized foreign-born citizens actually have a higher median household income than native-born citizens. Natives’ median income is almost a full $5,000 dollars less per year, $46,243…

Many people fear that, upon arrival, resettled refugees will begin to receive various welfare benefits and will lack any incentive to become self-sufficient. With all the barriers refugees face — language comprehension, cultural differences, geographical unfamiliarity, among others — it is easy to fall into that mindset. In both the Clark study and the study commissioned by the Seven Hills Foundation, the numbers show a different outcome: the fears appear to be unfounded…

…despite the cards being stacked against them, Worcester’s refugee population has an 8.6-percent higher employment rate than its native-born citizens, Fábos’s study shows…

Naturalized foreign-born citizens are more likely to own homes than natives. They also open businesses; the UMass Dartmouth study puts the percentage of businesses in Worcester owned by foreign-born citizens at 37 percent… Read more here

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, economic self-sufficiency, employment/jobs for refugees, Lutheran Social Services in Worcester MA, Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (Boston), secondary migration, secondary migration, refugee, Worcester | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lutheran Children & Family Service of Eastern Pennsylvania in the spotlight

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 25, 2016

report1State Department monitors visited Lutheran Children & Family Service of Eastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in April 2014. They evaluated the resettlement agency as only “partially compliant” with resettlement contract requirements. The agency, an affiliate of LIRS, had no structured training program for employees and the staff was unfamiliar with the updated requirements of the Cooperative Agreement. Many core services were not delivered within the required time frames. Monitors visited three refugee families and an SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) family. The agency had kept one family in transitional housing for two months. One family said the affiliate did not help them to enroll in an English language program. One family did not have adequate clothing storage or working smoking detectors. One family said they did not have or use a car seat for their infant child. This family also reported many problems with core service delivery which were documented differently in the case files or reported differently by the case manager. Monitors reviewed 16 case files which showed numerous deficiencies with required refugee services. The following are excerpts from the monitoring report (also see 2007 monitoring report):

“…the affiliate does not have a structured training plan. Many core services were not delivered within required time frames.

Monitors visited there refugee families and one SIV family who had all arrived in December, 2013 or January, 2014… One family was placed in transitional housing for two months… One family reported that it was not provided assistance with access to an English language program. One home did not have adequate clothing storage or working smoke detectors… One family reported that thy did not have or use a car seat for their infant child. The same family reported many issues related to core service delivery, which were documented differently in case files or reported differently by the case manager.

Monitors reviewed 16 case files…There was no documentation of refugee understanding of orientation topics… ..in many case files [the initial home visit as well as housing and personal safety orientation] did not occur the next calendar day after arrival as required. Seven files did not document the start date of public benefits and few files contained documentation of approval of benefits. In six files, assistance to access to employment services was beyond ten days after arrival and did not include a record of assistance. In five files case notes did not clearly document delivery of all core services. All four cases with school-aged children showed that school enrollment was delayed beyond thirty days after arrival. One child who arrive ten weeks prior to the monitor’s visit was still not enrolled in school. Four files did not contain service plans. Of the five files pertaining to males between the ages of 18 and 26, two did not document Selective Service enrollment. One 33-year-old male was registered for Selective Service, although he was ineligible due to his age… Two files did not document assistance with enrollment in English language programs. Two files failed to document acknowledgment by the refugee of receipt of all [State Department]…grant funds…” Read more here

Posted in children, community/cultural orientation, Congolese, Cooperative Agreement, employment services, employment/jobs for refugees, ESL & ELL, failure to enroll refugee children in school, furnishings, lack of, Iraqi, Lutheran, Lutheran Children and Family Service of Eastern PA, Nepali Bhutanese, Philadelphia, R&P, safety, SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) immigrants, State Department | Leave a Comment »

Arizona Immigrant and Refugee Services inspection

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 25, 2016

report3

State Department monitors visited Arizona Immigrant and Refugee Services (AIRS) in Phoenix in March 2014. They evaluated the resettlement agency as only “partially compliant” with resettlement contract requirements. The agency, an affiliate of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, failed to give language interpretation to refugees. Case note logs contained minimal information describing the progress of each case. Documentation of help with enrollment in English language classes and employment services was missing or late in most case files. Public assistance records were incomplete. The following are excerpts from the monitoring report:

“Monitors visited three refugee families who arrived between November 2013 and January 2014… One family reported…there was no interpreter who spoke their language [when staff picked them up at the airport]. Another family reported that the interpreter at the airport spoke Burmese but not their dialect… Two families reported that they had seem cockroaches in the past but not recently…

…One family reported that staff visited them [only] one time… One family reported that they needed help because there was no one who communicated in their language… Two families did not know their phone number or address or where to go if they got sick. One family did not know how to contact emergency services. Refugees were not sure when their benefits would end and expressed concern about employment.

Monitors reviewed 17 case files… Documentation of assistance with enrollment in English language classes and employment programs…was missing or late in ten files. Four service plans [the initial assessment of employability including the reasons a person may not be employable] were incomplete or inaccurate, and case note logs contained minimal information or details of progress [the date, mode and substance of regular contact with the refugee] during the [Reception and Placement] period.

…One case file contained no post-arrival case notes, and case notes in one file ended two weeks after arrival. School enrollments for children in three families did not occur in a timely manner [within 30 days of arrival]…

Incomplete documentation of enrollment in some services in the case files made it difficult for monitors to confirm that refugees received all core services…” Read more here

Posted in Arizona Immigrant and Refugee Services, Burma/Myanmar, children, community/cultural orientation, Cooperative Agreement, employment services, employment/jobs for refugees, ESL & ELL, failure to enroll refugee children in school, Iraqi, language interpretation/translation, lack of, meeting refugees at the airport, Phoenix, R&P, school for refugee children, Somali, State Department | Leave a Comment »

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City deficient, report indicates

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 13, 2016

report2

US Department of State monitors visited Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City (CCOKA) in February 2014. Although they found the resettlement agency mostly compliant with program requirements there were significant deficiencies. Refugees were living in unsanitary housing, did not appear to be receiving appropriate orientation, and written records were incomplete. Three homes required immediate repairs. Refugees could not recall orientation topics, some refugee children were enrolled late in school, or perhaps not at all, and six files documented late home visits to refugees. Adequate interpretation was not being used. The following are excerpts from the report:

…Monitors visited four refugee families who had arrived between November and December 2013.

…Case files for two families documented that they had received home visits, but case notes did not indicate the use of appropriate interpretation. Three families could not tell monitors the source of the RCA [Refugee Cash Assistance] or MG [Matching Grant] cash assistance they received and referred to it only as “rental assistance.” Three apartments, each located in the same housing complex, needed repairs of some sort: one apartment contained a hole in the bathroom ceiling as well as peeling paint; another apartment included a dangling light fixture above the kitchen sink, a leaky bathroom ceiling with peeling paint, and a bathtub faucet with a continuous leak; one apartment’s smoke detector was not operable and the bathtub faucet leaked. Three families reported an insect infestation, and one family reported an insect and mouse infestation. Two families could not recall what was learned during cultural orientation; in one case, a mother said her son interpreted, in another case a refugee said another refugee who had arrived on the same day interpreted, and in a third case, monitors were told that orientation was not conducted in the refugee’s native dialect. Two families also did not know where to go if someone became sick. One refugee told monitors that she was experiencing significant health issues but had not yet been to the doctor because she believed that her Medicaid was not yet active [instead it had been rejected, so she was unnecessarily waiting to seek medical care].

Monitors reviewed 20 case files…often the date of service could not be determined. Descriptions of core services such as home visits, assistance with enrollment in English language programs, and health assessments were also missing in some files. Two files documented late initial home visits, and four files documented late 30-day home visits, with no reasons noted to explain the delays….three files [did not include] a complete public assistance record….Two files did not contain a record of assistance with enrollment in either employment services or English language programs, and seven files included only referral forms for English classes. Two files documented late school enrollment, with no reason given for the delay… Of the four files containing selective service eligible males, none included evidence of registration.

…two refugees did not know how to access health care, two refugees were still without Medicaid cards. .. Of the 13 files with school-age children, two did not contain clear evidence of school enrollment. Home visits, case file review, and staff interviews indicate that refugees cannot access appropriate language interpretation….

…Apart from the R&P grant, refugees could not explain the source of the cash assistance they received from CCOKA, and indicated to monitors that the funds were strictly designated for rental payments [they are not].

…refugees could not clearly recall receiving orientation and two families could not recall any orientation topics. Three refugees reported not receiving appropriate language interpretation during orientation… Read more here

Posted in Burma/Myanmar, Catholic, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, cultural/community orientation, post arrival, employment/jobs for refugees, ESL & ELL, failure to enroll refugee children in school, housing, housing, substandard, Iraqi, language, language interpretation/translation, lack of, Medicaid, medical care, Oklahoma, R&P, rats and roaches, school for refugee children, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles disappoints

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 11, 2016

Inspection

Inspection

US Department of State monitors visited Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles in November 2013. They assessed the resettlement agency as only “partially compliant” with requirements. Documentation of services was so incomplete that monitors could not figure compliance or timely compliance with requirements. The affiliate had no structured training program for employees and did not use any volunteers to aid refugees. The program director demonstrated limited knowledge of how coordination of services for refugees occurs. Of the four refugee families visited by monitors, two did not receive all required furnishings. No members of the families visited were employed. None of the files reviewed documented help with enrollment in English language classes. All three files for families with school-aged children failed to document help with school enrollment. The following are excerpts from the inspection report:

Monitors found Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles (JFSLA) partially compliant with Reception and Placement Program (R&P) requirements. …case files and case note logs usually did not document dates of application or dates of assistance with access to services for which refugees were eligible. Therefore, monitors could not determine timely compliance with R&P requirements…. The affiliate does not have a structured training program.

The affiliate does not use volunteers to assist refugees with R&P activities…

…The program director does not attend [bi-monthly meetings of the Refugee Forum or the annual consultation with the state refugee coordinator] and has limited contact with other refugee service providers. She demonstrated limited knowledge of how coordination of services for refugees occurs…

Other than webinars, the case manager has received no formal training on R&P requirements or case management training. She demonstrated [only] a basic understanding of R&P requirements…

Monitors visited four refugee families who had arrived between July and September 2013. …monitors observed that two families did not have bed frames. …one refugee did not know how to contact emergency services. No members of the families visited were employed.

Monitors reviewed 20 case files. Monitors were not able to verify timely compliance with core service delivery because most case note logs did not document the date that refugees applied for public benefits, food stamps, social security cards or other services; the date refugees received assistance with access to English language programs or employment programs; the date refugees attended their health screenings; or the date children were enrolled in school.

None of the files reviewed documented assistance with enrollment in English language classes. Ten files failed to document application for public benefits and seven files did not document the application outcome or start date… All three files for families with school-aged children failed to document assistance with school enrollment… The three files pertaining to males between the ages of 18 and 26 did not document registration with selective service…

None of the families visited by monitors fully understood when their benefits would end… Read more here

Posted in Cooperative Agreement, employment services, employment/jobs for refugees, furnishings, lack of, HIAS, Iranian, Jewish, Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Operational Guidance, R&P, school for refugee children, State Department | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center in Worcester only “partially compliant”

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 9, 2016

magnify

U.S. Department of State monitors visited the Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) in Worcester in October 2013 and assessed the agency as only “ partially compliant” with requirements. Apparently, RIAC did not have to pay any fines or face other serious consequences for leaving refugees without needed services, as is typical. The agency failed to use proper interpretation, failed to use car safety seats when transporting small children, and apparently placed refugees in apartments with leaking ceilings and mice infestations. In another apartment, monitors observed a hole in the bathroom wall, a broken window, and closet door off its hinges. Two of the families visited were not provided bed frames for all the beds in the apartments. Read excerpts below from the monitoring report:

Monitors found Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) of Worcester partially compliant with Reception and Placement Program (R&P) requirements. …appropriate language interpretation was not always used. Case files did not always contain complete public assistance and financial records. Three of the homes visited had rodent infestations and needed repairs. Refugee visits…the substance of these contacts was not always recorded in the case notes. The affiliate was not obeying local motor safety laws when transporting small children, and refugee minor files were incomplete…

Monitors visited four refugee families who arrived between March and June 2013. Two of the families visited did not receive appropriate interpretation when met at the airport…

Three out of the four apartments visited had mice infestations and bathrooms with several water-stained ceiling tiles. One family reported a leak in the bathroom ceiling, and the other two families stated the ceilings were already damaged when they moved into the apartments. One family reported that they do not feel safe in their neighborhood at night because they heard that a refugee had been robbed and beaten in the middle of the afternoon after cashing a check at a nearby bank… Another family reported that a broken kitchen chair was initially provided, and then discarded, and never replaced by the affiliate. In another apartment, monitors observed a hole in the bathroom wall, a broken window, and closet door off its hinges. Two of the families visited were not provided bed frames for all of the beds in the apartments and a view of their case files showed no reasons given for their absence.

Although case file reviews indicated that all refugees were given orientation by the affiliate, two families reported that they only received orientation about life in the U.S. when they were still overseas, and a third family stated that the U.S. tie who accompanied them to the orientation was not sufficiently fluent in English to interpret and that appropriate language interpretation was provided by RIAC. [Only] two families visited had members who were able to recount some orientation topics.

…The two families with small children reported that the affiliate did not use car seats when transporting their children in motor vehicles…

A single mother with a disabled son became emotional during the monitors’ visit…the refugee and RIAC staff told monitors that they often communicated with each other in English, which the refugee does not fully understand, or relied on one of her children, also not fluent in English, to interpret.

No case files contained documentation that refugees understood key orientation objectives… Read more here

Posted in beds, children, community/cultural orientation, Cooperative Agreement, crime, dangerous neighborhoods, disabled refugees, ECDC, employment services, employment/jobs for refugees, furnishings, lack of, household items, missing or broken, housing, housing, substandard, Iraqi, language interpretation/translation, lack of, Nepali Bhutanese, rats and roaches, Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (Boston), State Department, Worcester | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Catholic Charities San Bernardino out of compliance

Posted by Christopher Coen on February 8, 2016

graphic - refugee security clearance

A 2014 inspection report for Catholic Charities San Bernardino reveals that the resettlement agency violated many requirements of their State Department resettlement contracts. The State Department rated the agency as only “partially compliant” with requirements. Staff had poor understanding of the Cooperative Agreement, refugees had not received vaccinations or health screenings, and none of the refugees was employed. The affiliate did not help refugees enroll in English Language programs nor employment services, nor register with Selective Service. Read more below:

Monitors found Catholic Charities San Bernardino (CCSB) partially compliant with Reception and Placement Program (R&P) requirements…

Monitors interviewed the resettlement director and the part-time case manager. Although the resettlement director has supervised R&P activities for ten years, she had only a basic understanding of Cooperative Agreement requirements and reported limited oversight of R&P activities. The case manager, who has worked with the affiliate for six months, was not familiar with the Cooperative Agreement, and has limited understanding of R&P requirements…

Monitors visited four refugee families who arrived between August and November 2013…

Three out of four families had not received vaccinations or completed their health screenings. No members of the families visited were employed, and all families reported they were not receiving assistance with an employment search from the county Department of Social Services. Monitors visited two families with children under the age of five years of age and one was not receiving WIC benefits. Refugees visited who did not speak English told monitors that affiliate staff did not assist them to enroll in English language programs.

Monitors reviewed 20 case files…

None of the four case files pertaining to males between the ages of 18 and 26 documented registration with Selective Service within 30 days of arrival. None of the files reviewed documented assistance with enrollment in English language programs or employment services… Read more here

Posted in Afghan, Catholic Charities San Bernardino, Cooperative Agreement, employment services, employment/jobs for refugees, health, Iraqi, late health screenings, men, San Bernardino, USCCB | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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