….Jewish resettlement agency says they don’t have the funds to find them anything better.
I don’t want to leave readers with the impression that this is pick-on-HIAS week, but that major resettlement agency (one of nine***) just seems to be in the news a lot lately.
It is in the news more than most, partly because HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is the refugee contractor leading the legal challenge to President Trump’s refugee slowdown.
HIAS wants more refugees admitted to the US and yet they can’t do anything better for them but to place them in dangerous housing? Of course, they would love it if the feds sent more funding their way, but maybe some of their ‘humanitarian’ bigwigs could take pay cuts and help these poor people! (See astronomical salaries here yesterday and below).
Here is the story at North Carolina Public Radio (one of many sites that this article appears) chronicling the horror of refugees living in dangerous housing (where they are raising kids!) and then they need mental health counseling to cope.
(As you read this long report, have sympathy for the refugees who really were sold a bill of goods about life in America. The blame for this situation rests entirely with the US Congress, the US State Department and this contracting system that must be abolished).
After a lead-in about someone who lived in this public housing complex decades ago (when it was a safe place to live), we learn this:
Around 1,600 people still live in Northview Heights. Gandy, who visits regularly, was surprised a few years ago when he started seeing some of the newer residents: people who came to the US as refugees fleeing war zones in several African countries. He worries about them trying to start their new lives in his old neighborhood.
“I don’t think that’s an environment that you would want to bring somebody new into this country in,” he says. “After they’ve already left a traumatic situation, you’re bringing them back to another area where you can experience trauma.”
One of those newcomers is Samuel Bomera. A few months after he moved into the housing project, in August 2017, there was a shootout between different groups of teenagers. There were no deaths, but it rattled everyone at Northview Heights.
“It was like being back in Congo, hearing the gunshots,” Bomera says. “And I think, ‘Am I back in a war zone, or am I in a safe country?’ That’s when I kind of regret being here.”
Bomera came from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He and his family moved to Pittsburgh in 2016 after years of living in refugee camps in Uganda. A resettlement agency, Jewish Family and Community Services of Pittsburgh, found them an apartment on a bus line so they would be able to get to work and appointments without a car. Federal funds from the State Department and Office of Refugee Resettlement that are distributed by the agency paid their $900 per month rent for the first few months. Jewish Family and Community Services paid for a few more months with money the organization receives from grants and donations.
“After that, the family was trying to pay but you could tell it was a struggle,” says Violeta Byegata, a social worker with Jewish Family and Community Services.
“We don’t really have that kind of funding to sustain them forever. So that’s how he ended up coming here.”
Continue here to hear more horror stories.
And, be sure to see my post yesterday about how several Pennsylvania resettlement agencies are bemoaning the refugee arrival slowdown for the state.
So wouldn’t a logical thinker ask:
Why is HIAS suing the President for MORE refugees to be admitted to the US when one of its workers says there isn’t enough funding to take proper care of them?
Here are the top salaries at HIAS, (Jewish Family and Community Services is a HIAS subcontractor, see list).
I wonder does Violetta have any clue about this?
*** These are the nine federal resettlement contractors which have hundreds of smaller subcontractors working for them. With the US State Department (DOS), they choose the towns and cities where refugees will be placed as those refugees enter the country.
President Donald Trump can set them back financially for a few years, but the program will never be reformed while their funding depends on the number of refugees arriving in the US.
And, there is little accountability in cases where the refugees are suffering, like those in this Pittsburgh housing complex. (I’ve only heard of the DOS pulling a contract a few times over the last ten years.) WHERE IS CONGRESS?
- Church World Service (CWS)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
- World Relief Corporation (WR)