Kansas: Somalis learn to clean their apartments, landlords relieved

I can’t really complain about this since I have advocated on these pages that Somalis and other refugees need to be taught how we live in America.  My only question is who should pay for this?  Shouldn’t this have been taught during the first 3-6 months that the refugee was in the US and taught by the resettlement agency contracted to care for the refugees when they first arrive.   Should the cost of such training be borne by the local community?  Perhaps corporate giant Tysons Food which brings the refugees to cities like Garden City to work in meatpacking be paying for this cleanliness training program?

From the Garden City Telegram:

In addition to the language barrier, many Somalis face challenges in every day life, such as learning to cook and clean in apartments much different than places they used to inhabit in Somalia.

In an effort to address these challenges new residents might be having in assimilating in their Garden City homes and apartments, Finney County K-State Research and Extension, GCCC, SRS and the Center for Children and Families held “Home Care for New Kansans,” a demonstration and lecture on how to keep a well-maintained place to live.

Linda Beech, K-State Extension agent, spoke to members of the Somali community Tuesday at GCCC. A previous demonstration was held for the Burmese community.

Beech spoke about which products to use on different places of the house and demonstrated a cleaning chart showing how often each task should be done.

She said landlords in the area helped spark the idea to provide the program to make sure new residents know how to properly clean and maintain unfamiliar appliances.

One major problem the Somalis face is learning to cook on a conventional electric stove, Abdi said.

After Beech’s program, some of the Somalis said they had problems getting accustomed to the stoves because they’re used to cooking with larger cookware, and using gas for heat.

Other Somalis said they didn’t know which cleaning and household products to use where, and that Beech’s presentation helped them understand what to use.

Most of the Somali residents live at 312 W. Mary St., a complex owned by Steve Burgess.

Burgess had said he helped initiate the program because of some of the expensive repairs he was having to do at his rentals at 305 W. Mary St. and 312 W. Mary St.

Burgess had said he was concerned about damage to stoves, carpet and appliances, and was concerned about the cleanliness of the apartments because of health concerns and damage repairs.

He said he appreciates his new tenants, but that many just haven’t learned the proper ways to maintain the rentals.

He said with the help of GCCC’s Adult Learning Center Refugee Program, and other outreach programs, the condition of the apartments has started to improve.

Read the rest of the article because there is an amusing (sort of) bit about Somali men getting accustomed to the respective roles of men and women in the US.

Anger counselor pleads guilty to assaulting federal marshal

Your tax dollars:

Someone sent me this short article yesterday from the Washington Post Crime scene blog.  If it weren’t so serious it almost reads like a spoof!

A Fairfax County anger-management counselor pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault on a federal officer for pointing a loaded firearm at a deputy U.S. marshal.

The incident occurred near the Annandale apartment of Jose L. Avila, 57, on Jan. 25. A federal marshal wrote in a court affidavit that he and another marshal had parked their sport-utility vehicles in designated parking places on Americana Drive, and that Avila pulled up behind them, honked his horn and was waved around them. But Avila allegedly drove past, turned around, drove back to them and aimed a loaded 9mm pistol at the two marshals, who were in plainclothes, the marshal wrote.

Avila, a single parent and former priest, worked for Northern Virginia Family Service and before that for the Center for Multicultural Human Services in Falls Church.

And, they say the Tea Partiers are violent!  The guy could get 20 years!

What interested me more was to find out if the organizations he worked for were involved with refugees and received funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement.  Sure enough!  The Center for Multicultural Human Services doesn’t exist anymore (I bet there is a story there), it was for some reason folded into the Northern Virginia Family Service.    By the way, you have a lot of choices in Northern Virginia for domestic violence counseling, here.

I found that Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS) gets at least a grant from ORR for torture victims, here.  Actually this list is useful because it gives you some idea of where the domestic violence/victims of torture hot spots are.  I’ll search for NVFS’s Form 990 later because  I can’t find any annual report at their site.  I’d like to know how much government funding this organization receives.  But, guess what!  I did find this! Did you know you can get a car fixed with a grant from NVFS?

What a coincidence, torture counseling must be all the rage these days.  Yesterday I had planned to post this story from Portland, Maine about a big federal grant they got to help victims of torture and it’s on the same list of grantees at the Office of Refugee Resettlement.  Now I won’t have to post it separately.  Portland must be having a problem just as Fairfax County obviously is with domestic violence and torture victims or why else give out federal grants.

For more on ORR’s Torture program, go here.