Bedbugs plague refugees (and landlords)

I think this is one of those chicken or egg stories—-you know, which came first?  Refugees or bedbugs?  Yesterday a couple of readers knew I would be interested in this  AP story from Manchester, NH about a refugee apartment building infested with bedbugs.  

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — After all the officials took turns explaining a plan to end a bedbug infestation in an apartment building where mostly refugees live, Michel Ndayavugwi simply pointed to the young boy dozing in a chair in the back of the room.

“He’s sleeping because last night, he didn’t sleep,” Ndayavugwi said through an interpreter. “What can we do? Please, find for us good apartments and good housing … so that our children will not sleep in the classroom.”

Ndayavugwi lives at Langdon Mill, a four-story brick building that’s home to 16 families, most of them refugees from Somalia, Sudan and other African nations.

The building’s owner, tenants and various city agencies have spent years trying to tackle infestations. But ultimately it was two children who inspired a more aggressive plan to not only eliminate the infestation there but also to create a model for other landlords, tenants and communities around the state.

Read all about the plan which involves temporarily removing all the tenants (who, incidentally say they were promised decent housing), trashing all their furnishing and bedding and fumigating the building.

The Manchester story also mentions something we all know, that bedbugs had virtually been eradicated in most of the US until recent years.

Bedbugs – tiny flat insects that emerge from mattresses, sofas and sheets to feed on human blood at night – have made a comeback in recent years, invading hospitals, college dorms, hotels and apartment buildings around the country. The insects are not known to transmit any diseases, but their bites can cause infections and allergic reactions.

Coincidence?  Back in January I told you about the “Mysterious case of the bedbug evictions” in Shelbyville, TN.   In that story the apartment manager allegedly evicted Somali tenants if they had bedbug infested apartments.  The Somalis claimed that anyone who complained was evicted.  I never did hear what finally happened with that infested building, but rumor has it many of the Somalis have moved on elsewhere—to New Hampshire maybe?

I know a local landlord and know how difficult a time landlords are having economically, loaded down with every restriction under the sun, so why on earth would anyone take a chance renting to refugees?  I guess legally they can’t refuse!  This is not the first time Manchester has had landlord/refugee problems.  Here is a post I wrote more than a year ago about similar problems in Nebraska and it has links to other landlord/refugee problems including the one in Manchester. 

By the way, I think there is a method to the madness:  ultimately the goal is to run private landlords out of business and nationalize housing—one more liberal fascist agenda item to destroy property rights—-the ultimate underpinning of capitalism.

Endnote:  Notice we have an African “community organizer.”   The New American Africans is apparently your typical Alinsky/Obama style community agitation group (see our whole category on Community Destabilization here). 

Although I could find nothing on their financing or legal structure (no Guidestar listing, no IRS determination letter, no Form 990, no website even), your tax dollars are probably paying their salaries.  

Honore Murenzi was visiting Langdon Mill in April as part of his work with New American Africans, a nonprofit group that helps the city’s refugees.

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