Reform suggestion #3: Penalize volags* that don’t fulfill their government contract

In response to my post yesterday in which I ask for suggestions for reforming the Refugee Resettlement Program, Mark says:

Right now there is no incentive for refugee resettlement agencies to follow rules or abide by their contracts, since there are no penalties for failure to do so. As a result refugees often do not receive the few material items that are required by government contracts, or they receive broken junk. Resettlement agencies also regularly give refugees inadequate community and cultural orientation, fail to assist refugees to find work during their first few months here, and don’t even bother to answer the phone when refugees call and ask for help with something. Why should taxpayers pay for items and services that are not supplied, or are supplied in a deficient manner?

Penalties for refugee resettlement agencies caught not meeting the minimum requirements of their government contracts. No lamp – $10 penalty. Broken chair – $15 penalty. Mattresses on the floor with no bed frame – $30 penalty. Not helping refugee look for a job for first four months – $100 penalty. Believe me, if the refugee resettlement agencies’ friends in the State Department actually put some teeth in the program requirements, overnight there would be massive improvement.

* For new readers volags stands for Voluntary Agencies, it’s really a misnomer because they aren’t voluntary when they receive taxpayer funding through grants and contracts with the federal (and sometimes state) goverment.  There are ten major government contractors who in turn subcontract smaller groups to resettle refugees.

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