Comment worth noting: US State Department, what is going on in Bowling Green?

Update November 18th:  The tangled web that will hinder any investigation of refugee neglect, here.

Update November 17th:  More information on the satellite office of the BGIC that will open Dec. 1 in Owensboro, here.

Update November 14th:  Readers should know that this post is the most visited post for the last few days at RRW.  I don’t know who all is reading it, but I assure you many many people are.  If you didn’t see it yesterday, I posted information on the State Department’s Operational Guidance for Resettlement Agencies, here, and have had several requests for it so far.  This document outlines what is expected of federally contracted agencies when they resettle refugees.

Comments worth noting is a category we set up for comments (usually to older posts)that might be lost to most readers unless we showcased them here.

We just received this shocking information from a friend of a Burmese Karen refugee resettled recently in Bowling Green, KY.  The comment came in response to my post on October 25th about resettlements at Bowling Green, here.    It sounds like a repeat of what happened to the Burmese resettled in Waterbury, CT more than a year ago where some local church people finally were able to get the attention of the US State Department and the negligent resettlement agency was closed there.

US State Department, why does this keep happening?  And, why have you approved another office for this agency in Owensboro, here?

From a reader identified as C. Flores:

Jason [another commnenter at the post], you have to remember these people are refugees. They did not come to Bowling Green by choice! These people need some compassion cas’ they surely aren’t receiving it in Bowling Green!

You need to take action and write Governor Steve Beshear, Congressman Geoff Davis, Senator Mitch McConnell,
Commissioner Brian “Slim” Nash, Major Elaine Walker, Commission Joe Denning, Commissioner Catherin Hamilton, and Commissioner Bruce Wilkerson, US Campaign for Burma, USCRI and many of the Universities in Kentucky… Have the people of Bowling Green to sign and take action. This is coming from your tax $$ and mine!

The International Center (aka Western Kentucky Mutual Assistance Association) needs to be stop!! The filthy living condition they have in BG, they were better off where they came from. I’m totally humiliated that America are doing this to these refugees!!!

This is an email I sent to all of the above November 2, 2009.

“I drove 210 miles down to Bowling Green, Kentucky on Friday, October 30th, from Northern Kentucky to welcome a son of a Karenni/Burmese family I been visiting in the Thailand Refugee Camp outside Mae Hong Son, since 2003.

I stayed in the son’s apartment at Lover’s Lane for 3 days and I was horrified from what I saw and heard from the Karenni refugees in Bowling Green. I didn’t realize there were so many Karenni living in BG. They all had so many questions for me and I didn’t know how to answer any of them. I was totally dumbfounded from what I saw. I never imagined America would do this to these refugees.

The Riviera apartments on 1106 Lovers Lane and the Greenwood Villa Apartments on 1500 Bryant Way, are slum apartments loaded with cockroaches and rodents. They were totally nasty! And these apartments are charging them $500.00 a month after they land a $9.00/hr job at the chicken factory. They are not worthy to even live in. The walls and carpeting in all the apartments I went in, haven’t been cleaned in years by management!!! The owners of the apartments have to be working with the International Center for “PROFIT!!!” They honestly need to be demolished. They are unlivable!!!

On Saturday, I bombed his apartment and took the family out to trick or treat. When we came back, it took the son and I over an hour to clean up the cockroaches. It was totally disgusting!!

I was totally bewildered the whole weekend. I called the Bowling Health Department on Monday, November 2, to report the living conditions the Karenni people are living in. As I write this, I am still baffled; “where are the funds going?” It’s a total disgrace!

These people have only what they brought with them usually one luggage with their whole life in it. They do not have enough winter clothing, eating utensils & dishes, no furniture, basically nothing and winter is around the corner. I had to go out and spend close to $300.00 of my own money to buy the family the necessities and the majority of items I purchased was 2nd hand.

The whole weekend, I kept asking myself, “why would America bring these people over here if they can’t help them?” Knowing the life of a Karreni refugee camp, I feel as they had a better life in the refugee camp than living in Bowling Green, Kentucky! I drove the 3 hours back in disbelief. How can these Karreni people get help! We need to stop bringing refugees in if we cannot help them.

When I arrived home Sunday night, I had to leave my luggage out in my garage and bombed my garage in case I brought home any cockroaches. The apartments are that bad!

I searched in vain regarding the crisis in Bowling Green and this man links (“What’s going on in BG…”) below explains it exactly how life is for these Karenni people. Somebody needs to help them please!!! “

Jason, if I didn’t live 3 hours away, I’d be asking a lot of questions how is your tax $$ being used to help these people! They need help and the are not receiving it in BG!

Ask the people of BG to help them. They desperately need winter clothing. The need rides to the Asian/Thai Supermarket for food. When I walked in the son’s apartment, he had 2 coffee cups, 1 plate and 2 spoons and he has been her for over 3 weeks!! He didn’t have any furniture in his apartment and he has a wife and 2 small children.

Bowling Green needs to be ANGRY at the International Center in BG! I am!! I am driving back the 3 hours one-way again this coming weekend. Why, because no one in BG is helping them! After this family gets all their identifications, I plan on bringing them home with me. I don’t have the $$$ to support them either, though I do have the compassion. I bring them all here in Northern KY if I could.

“acorcoran” Thank you for all the time you have done with these very informative posts. Please let me know how I can help. I don’t know what more I can do besides emailing the ones above. This is all new to me and I honestly don’t know where to begin!! ~C. Flores

To C. Flores, I’ll be in touch with you tomorrow with some suggestions!

2 thoughts on “Comment worth noting: US State Department, what is going on in Bowling Green?

  1. I’m not sure the date this was written, and I’m a little confused as to who is writing it, but my question is why the refugees have to live there. Can’t they find their own apartment? Can they go to the local thrift store and pick up household goods? Don’t they get some kind of subsidies in addition to their jobs? Do they have counselors that help them learn how to use public transportation and how to shop and how to bank, and all that stuff?

    1. The answers are yes, yes, yes, supposedly but those resettlement agencies don’t do a good job. Also, the resettlement agencies initially place them in apartments where they have a crony relationship with a (slum) landlord.

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