I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this news story from Akron, Ohio. The International Institute of Akron is being accused of not properly caring for the Burmese Karen refugees in its charge. Gee, I wonder where I heard that story before? Oh yeh! Waterbury, CT, just last week.
While his [Teddy, a Karen refugee] life may be better than the refugee camp, the living conditions are anything but home sweet home for Akron.
Many of the apartments are overcrowded and have serious problems with roaches and rats. Eight people, including a newborn live in a two-room apartment on the fourth floor. During the day, two mattresses are stood upright so the family has room to walk around. At night, the mattresses are laid on the floor so the family members and the baby have somewhere to sleep.
Some of the Karen refugees have been placed in houses adjacent to the apartment building. Fifteen immigrants live in one of the homes.
“I would open up the refrigerator and it would not be working,” Miller [local church volunteer] said. “The ovens, we would find rats in the bottom of the ovens. The cockroaches were just amazing. I would open up a cupboard and there might be 50 of them jumping out at me.”
What does the agency representative say—we are only responsible for them for six months. This demonstrates AGAIN that one of the major reforms needed in refugee resettlement is to require that each refugee family has a sponsor, a church or other such group to look out for them for as long as it takes to assimilate to America. These volags apparently just take the money, pat themselves on the back and walk away!
BTW, this is another of the subcontractors of USCRI.