ECDC: We want money even when refugee flows are low

ECDC is the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc,* one of the top federal refugee contractors, here  (oh funny, I see we lost two contractors recently, the number had been 11).  A representative from this organization testified last week at the State Department meeting and although I couldn’t understand his verbal testimony, his written testimony has several interesting nuggets of information.  One nugget, which I hope to get to in the next few days, involves a pitch to take so-called “refugees” from the Rainbow Nation—that supposed heaven-on-Earth called South Africa.  Who knew that blacks could be xenophobic!

We want to be paid no matter how many refugees we resettle! 

Readers, I have reported on many occasions that one of many flaws in this program is that the resettlement contractors are paid by the head to resettle refugees, so when the flow slows, as it is right now (due to extra security measures being put in place), the agencies have to (boo hoo) let people go.   It was before my time, but I am told that immediately following 9/11 the flow was cut dramatically, but these “non-profit” contractors managed to wrangle money out of the federal government anyway to pay themselves salaries until the spigot opened again.

Here, the representative from ECDC asks for your tax dollars again, even if work has slowed.   (I have broken his long paragraph into smaller ones so you can read it easier, and added emphasis—ed)

Administrative Floor Funding for Domestic Resettlement

ECDC recommends that PRM fund local resettlement agencies at 100 percent of approved capacity. Within the last two fiscal years, partly due to the Inter-Agency Check (IAC) [involves security—ed] holds, the resettlement program has encountered significantly lower than expected arrivals.  Because local resettlement agencies are reimbursed on per capita arrivals, they have been unable to pay for administrative expenses, including staff.

While some agencies have used reserve funds and have been able to garner additional private resources, in the reality of continued low arrivals, these funding sources have been exhausted.  [This program was never intended to be fully funded by the feds (by you)! The public-private partnership meant that the “non-profits” were to raise lots of money on their own!—ed*] Consequently, many agencies have laid off staff.  When agencies do receive arrivals, they are not fully prepared to serve them with limited employees.  They must quickly hire new case management staff who may not receive the benefit of robust, extended training.

US refugee arrivals fluctuate widely from month-to-month and year-to-year, making it nearly impossible for local agencies to have a solid infrastructure in place at all times that can readily adapt and provide quality Reception and Placement services. With full funding, local resettlement agencies are able to maintain continuity in their respective administrative and staffing capacities to resettle refugees, despite unanticipated and uneven arrival patterns. [So, they can sit around in offices collecting a salary even if no refugees are coming?—ed]. It is in the best interest of refugees that local offices be equipped and ready at all times to offer high-quality resettlement.

* Now check out their most recent Form 990, here.   They took in $13 million in that year and $11 million came from you!  They have a couple of 6-figure salaries they have to maintain too.

All this would be solved if we took these contractors out of this business.  The complaints that we see on the local level are related to contractors wanting more warm bodies to resettle and then three months later turning those people over to local government to care for!

New readers:  See all of our coverage of this May 1 State Department meeting in our category set up specifically for that purpose, here.

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