Lutheran Family Services definitely closed in Greensboro, NC

I am so behind the eightball.  I have stories piled up that I haven’t posted on and others, like this one, that I’m seeing two weeks late.   We previously told you about the mess in Greensboro, NC with refugee overload in a three-part series (start here and follow links back).  Also, see this story about the plug being pulled on LFS.

Lutheran Family Services two weeks ago made the following announcement reported in the News-Record:

GREENSBORO — In a final blow to the city’s oldest refugee resettlement agency, Lutheran Family Services of the Carolinas will shut down the legal office that for 20 years helped reunite parents, children and spouses torn apart by civil war and ethnic cleansing.

In an announcement shared Monday with local clergy and refugee sponsors, the agency’s executive director called the move, effective Sept. 30, “exclusively a financial decision.”

LFS, which has operated in the Triad since 1979, halted its refugee arrivals to the Triad in February, citing economic conditions. That move came after a spate of problems with serving clients.

Greensboro—little Ellis Island!

In the 1990s, LFS played the lead role in turning the city into what observers likened to a “little Ellis Island.”

But a combination of staff turnover, scarce resources and a grim employment outlook for newcomers resulted in turmoil at the agency.

Its refugee clients are being moved to other resettlement agencies in the Triad. When that is complete, LFS refugee work here will cease and will be limited to Raleigh and Columbia, S.C.

Can’t “shoulder the gap.”   What that means is that the agency is not contributing its share of the public-private partnership that the original Refugee Act of 1980 foresaw. 

“Unfortunately,” the Rev. Laura Benson, the agency’s Raleigh-based director wrote in a memo circulated Monday, “LFS can no longer shoulder the gap between the federal contract and modest client fee income collected and the actual cost of this specialized work.”

The answer for this money part of LFS’s problem (believe me they had other problems as we saw in the three-part series) is that they (and other refugee contractors) want more taxpayer dollars for the refugee program—they want the easy way out.  The hard way out of the problem is to do more to raise private dollars (heck, ask Obama, he made $5 million last year and just two days ago said some people make too much money, maybe he can chip in some of his own excess stash!).   Or, cut the number of refugees arriving in the US.

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