People ask me all the time, how “THEY” decide which cities and towns will get refugees. Well yesterday I got an announcement for a new round of grants (with lots more money) for the Office of Refugee Resettlements (ORR) “Preferred communities” program. The ten top dog refugee resettlement agencies (volags) can vie for bigger bucks in the coming year if they are resettling refugees in desireable cities.
It annoys me so much whenever a news account laments that the volags get only $425 for each refugee they resettle. I’ve been at this for going on two years and I still can’t figure out all the different funding programs available to these government contractors, and for that I apologize to readers who are also searching for answers.
Here is what ORR says of this program:
Preferred Communities are localities where refugees have excellent opportunities to achieve early employment and sustained economic independence without having to utilize public assistance. These localities also have low welfare utilization by refugees. The Preferred Communities Program also meets the needs of special populations through intensive case management. [see below for what is a special population needing intensive management]
Now, before I list the cities don’t assume your city is off the hook if its not on the list, these are just the previous cities where the volags got extra federal funding. Be assured the volags are plotting all the time to bring refugees to new cities and also know that some cities that are way overloaded with refugees, like Ft. Wayne, Indiana are still having refugees resettled by the hundreds.
Here are the “preferred communities” as determined by the federal government and the non-profit contractors. Although I must say some of these cities are places we have reported are having lots of trouble finding jobs for refugees, so I don’t know how they became “preferred.”
Arizona: Phoenix and Tucson
Florida: Jacksonville and St. Augustine
California: Los Angeles and San Diego
Idaho: Boise, Treasure Valley, and Twin Falls
Illinois: Aurora, Chicago, and DuPage
Iowa: Des Moines
Kansas: Kansas City
Kentucky: Bowling Green
Maryland: Baltimore, Silver Spring, and Takoma Park
Massachusetts: West Springfield
Michigan: Dearborn and Grand Rapids
New Jersey: Camden
New Mexico: Albuquerque
New York: Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse
North Carolina: New Bern and Raleigh
Ohio: Akron and Columbus
Pennsylvania: Erie, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh
South Dakota: Sioux Falls
Tennessee: Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville
Texas: Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Houston
Vermont: Barre and Colchester
What is a special population:
Examples of special populations needing intensive case management may include, at a minimum, youth and young adults without parents or permanent guardians who have spent an unusually long period under refugee camp conditions; refugees experiencing social or psychological conditions including emotional trauma resulting from war; refugees who are HIV+; or other populations with physical disabilities or medical conditions identified and determined by BPRM and ORR as needing intensive case management. Culturally and linguistically appropriate linkages and coordination with other service providers is necessary to improve access to services and enhance the likelihood of their integration into new communities.
By the way, I didn’t see anywhere where the citizens of these cities had any say, or the local government for that matter. Your state refugee offices are involved along with the feds and the PRIVATE resettlement contractors.
STATISTICS ARE COOL: This site was down for sometime, but you can go there now (it’s a pdf file) and see stats for each state—how many refugees in recent years, how many are working and the grants the state received. The State refugee coordinator contact information is available there too.