Salt Lake City, UT refugee overload?

Here is an article that appeared all over the place in the last couple of days featuring a wonderful woman who is helping refugees in Salt Lake City.   She had a troubled past, addicted to drugs and living on the street, and has now found comfort in helping refugees, mostly Africans, to learn to live in America.  Nice story, but to me the story had more to it.

First, the city is lucky to have Veronica Moses because it sounds like the Resettlement agencies are overloaded and refugees are not getting the support they need.   This is happening everywhere it seems and Moses gets it.

Moses has been sober for five years now, but she spent several years hooked on cocaine and heroin and living with other wayward young people on the streets of Salt Lake City. She stayed in Pioneer Park and seedy motels. She lived for drugs and couldn’t quit. One day, when police pulled her from a trash bin downtown, she finally did.


“I am looking at this population, and I know what can happen,” Moses says. “If they don’t have mentors, if they aren’t taught how to be independent, if they aren’t loved ….”


“In five years, we will see the crime population, the drug population, drug selling. It’s all going to rise,” she says.


A series of events last spring and summer threatened to allow scores of young refugees to fall through the cracks

The “event” involves the sale of an apartment complex where many of the Africans, mostly Somali Bantu, had been placed by the volag resettlement agency.  The Somalis were evicted. The apartment owner becomes the bad guy.

The new owner had increased monthly rents and quit accepting Section 8 housing vouchers, which helped to subsidize rents. In addition, about 40 percent of residents were supported by a federal rental assistance program that ended last summer.

We’ve heard this story before in Shelbyville, TN and Manchester, NH.   The quality of an apartment building declines dramatically when it is largely occupied by refugees who have not been properly instructed in how to assimilate to American culture.  

What I took away from this article in the Deseret Morning News was that refugees are lucky to have Veronica Moses but that there are too many refugees going to Salt Lake City and not enough people to help them assimilate, so there will be more apartment owners unwilling to rent to refugees here and elsewhere.  I blame the volags for this.

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