Springfield, MA: Lutheran Social Services responds to Mayor’s criticism

Update on our post earlier today!

It’s not us putting refugees into slum housing! (Must be one of the other contractors)

That’s what a brief statement on behalf of their President Angela Wallingford Bovill says in response to the letter Mayor Sarno sent to Barbara Day at the US State Department in which the Mayor asked for what amounts to a moratorium on resettlement of refugees in Springfield.   Here is the letter (they say a more detailed response is in the works).  Hat tip: Joanne

Good afternoon,

Angela Bovill CEO of LSS of New England
Photo: Worcester Business Journal

The following statement is sent on behalf of Angela Bovill, President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of New England. This statement is made in response to Mayor Domenic Sarno’s letter to Barbara Day in the U.S. State Department regarding refugee resettlement in Springfield, MA:

“Lutheran Social Services of New England (LSS) recognizes the City of Springfield as a supportive partner in humanitarian programs that help resettle refugees fleeing from unsafe homelands. Over the years, we have developed a solid working relationship with the City of Springfield and its various departments to successfully resettle newcomers to the Greater Springfield area.

LSS is aware of Mayor Sarno’s recent concerns about refugee housing conditions, and we have investigated the properties in question. LSS does not place any refugees in uninhabitable residences or unsafe conditions, and regularly monitors its clients during their resettlement period. Currently, LSS resettles less than 40 percent of its refugee clients to the City of Springfield.

We also want to acknowledge that several statements made in Mayor Sarno’s letter to Barbara Day in the U.S. State Department are inaccurate. LSS will respond to these statements in a letter with supporting facts sent to the Mayor’s office. We will continue to work collaboratively with local and state authorities to identify the best possible solutions for the City and its refugee families.”

Thank you.

Jodie Justofin

Vice President

Strategic Marketing & Communications

Lutheran Social Services of New England

14 East Worcester Street, Suite 300

Worcester, MA 01604

Angela Bovill

The Worcester Business Journal interviewed  LSS’s CEO Angela Bovill just this past June and here are a few things she said.

When asked if her previous experience in business helps LSS, she responded:

This is a business. Yes it is a nonprofit, but (in) a nonprofit, it’s even more critical that you understand how to manage it like it needs to be managed. We have 1,600 employees across six states. It’s a very complicated business, so if you don’t have the business background to run it, I’m not sure how you could succeed.

When asked what social issues are the most troubling to her, she candidly says they don’t have enough money from the government to do the job properly!


I think the most troubling is the funding source for the social issues that we deal with these days … the government. The government tends to pay for part of the solution to a problem (such as homelessness) and not all of it. And what I see and what troubles me the most is it doesn’t solve the problem. So, in fact, we, like many other nonprofits, become part of the problem, not a part of the solution. Because if all we’re able to do is just enough to keep people where they are, then what solution is that, really? So our mission and our vision is shifting dramatically this year, to leveraging what we get from the government but adding transformational and transitional programming and innovative solutions that take people from the end of the government funding and bring them to the point where they’re all the way on their feet.

As I always do when a refugee contractor is in the news, I checked to see what LSS’s finances look like there in New England.  Much to my surprise they haven’t submitted a Form 990 to Guidestar since the year 2000.  What is up with that?  Are they not filing 990’s with the IRS?   They do have a brief annual report on file for 2010.

No surprise there—they received $50 MILLION that year from you—the taxpayer, while receiving only $1.4 million in charitable donations.

Perhaps we should forgive Ms. Bovill, after all she was only about 6-years-old when Jimmy Carter signed Senator Ted Kennedy’s Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 and so she might not know.  The original law said that resettlement was to be a PUBLIC-PRIVATE Partnership meaning that the non-profit was to also contribute cash to the venture, not pass the whole program off to the taxpayer with the non-profit basically laundering the money through its myriad offices and large staffs—1,600 in New England alone!

So here is what I think, if you don’t have enough (private charitable) money to do a quality job then the Mayor is right—-don’t send more refugees!

And one more thing:  Note in the story that AmeriCorps “volunteers” are doing yard work for LSS—that is you paying for that side benefit too!

For new readers:  Check out more on their parent organization—LIARS, here in Baltimore.  96% of their funding comes from you!  And, they are expecting more payola if the Gang of Eight/Obama amnesty is signed into law.

Swimming pool near-riot adds one more reason why anti-immigrant tensions are rising in Germany

Diversity is strength, right?

Lately we’ve reported on the growing tension over the large numbers of illegal aliens (mostly from Muslim countries) coming into Germany and asking for asylum.   Here is just one recent post from last Friday about the growing anger and the resultant backlash.

Now the Daily Caller publishes an opinion piece about one possible reason for the growing tension—-the parallel societies being encouraged by Islamists.   You may have seen the story already, but it’s important to post it here as we chronicle the death throes of Europe (slowly being killed by multiculturalism).

And, since I probably won’t be able to post it due to time constraints, be sure to see this article (BBC) which says a large segment of the immigrant tide to Germany is made up of Chechens (famously hard-line Muslims).   Of course we remember that the Tsarnaevs (Boston Bombers) are Chechens.

Daily Caller (emphasis mine);

An aggressive response from heavily-armed police to an Arab family at a Berlin swimming pool has provided yet another vignette of the difficulties Western societies face coping with Muslim immigrants’ dramatically different mores. The incident provides a disturbing glimpse into the parallel societies of some Islamic communities in Europe, which find true integration into their adopted homelands incompatible with Muslim piety.

One of the Arabs is taken away in handcuffs.
Photo Berliner Zeitung

On July 27, medics attempted to treat an injured woman from an Arab family at the Columbiabad pool in Berlin’s Neukölln district, the local Berliner Zeitung (BZ) recently reported. The woman’s clan members present took offense at the male medics touching a female family member. The violation of Muslim norms prohibiting such touching by unrelated individuals offended the family’s honor, one witness reported. Tirades of insults followed and two family “heavyweights” began to punch the defenseless medics. Other family members also joined in the assault.

Pool security alerted the police, who arrived with ten patrol cars and police dogs, as pictured in BZ online. In addition to nightsticks, pictures also showed some of the officers wearing bulletproof vests, as Germany’s national tabloid Bild noted. Witnesses reported that only after using pepper spray were the police able to quell the angry family members. A picture taken after the pool riot showed the police leading a man away in handcuffs.

No integration?  Here is one solution—-stop Islamic immigration to Europe!

The hazards of bathing in Neukölln, among other frictions of multiculturalism, raise questions concerning how easily this socialization can occur. Strict rules against contact with unrelated women as well as female body coverings are paradigmatic for a culture seeking isolation from, and indeed dominance over, non-Muslims. Concerning Germany’s Turkish immigrant population, one intelligent German friend of mine commented to me in the mid-1990s that “they do not want to integrate.”

Any attempt at integrating Muslims into Western societies demands challenging some of these traditional norms and, as the Berlin police at Columbiabad demonstrated, sometimes outright coercion. The inherent problems in any such cultural rapprochement have thus prompted politicians like Holland’s Geert Wilders to demand restrictions upon an Islamic immigration deemed inherently difficult for Western societies to digest socio-politically. Irrespective of policy proposals, dealing with Islamic immigration in Europe and elsewhere will be no walk on the beach.


Springfield, MA mayor tells State Department NO! to more refugees

Update August 27th:  Mayor Sarno holds press conference with disgruntled Somali, here.

Update August 15th:  More media coverage of the Mayor’s letter and response, here , here and here.

Update:  Lutherans respond to criticism, here.

Reader ‘pungentpeppers’ alerts us to a new “pocket of resistance” to refugee resettlement and it’s in the ‘Peoples’ Republic of Massachusetts’ of all places!

Democrat Mayor Sarno hopefully has the fortitude to stand up to the criticism that will come his way from the Open Borders/Religious Left lobby!
Photo: The Republican

Here is the stunning news.  I say stunning because very few Mayors or local elected officials have the guts to do what Mayor Sarno has done.  There have been a few others, most notably Mayor Gatsas from Manchester, NH, but most local officials believe they have no recourse against the federal government and the contractors—in this case Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and Jewish Family Services—and just have to take it!

Most also fear the political ramifications of being labelled a “racist” for saying they are overloaded.

One reform we should all be pushing for is to legally enable cities and states to say NO to the feds!

Note to the Mayor:  I see you supported Ed Markey for the US Senate, you need to ask his office for help!

The  State Department ( Office Population Refugees and Migration) is very aware that they have a problem finding “welcoming” communities for the growing number of refugees AND asylees they are trying to place.   Earlier this summer we learned they and the Office of Refugee Resettlement were having secret pow-wows (ORR did not answer several requests from me to learn of the location of  the July “placement” meeting) to jointly agree on what communities might be welcoming.  This is what I learned in June (see Lancaster meeting):

….apparently in light of failed attempts to get new seed communities established, the feds are having ORR-PRM joint quarterly placement meetings.  The next one will be in July.     Before any new site is opened (usually because some contractor thinks it would be a good place), ORR-PRM will visit the site together and decide if it will be “welcoming.”

By the way, when you read the whole Springfield story, note that one contractor says they aren’t resettling so many in Springfield directly, but are spreading them out throughout the county—this is one of their tricks when they start getting heat. 

From The Republican (emphasis is mine).  We have seen this before—refugees placed in slums!

SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic J. Sarno on Tuesday urged federal officials to stop the flow of refugees into Springfield, saying the influx has become “a pressing issue of public safety.”

Sarno, in a letter to the U.S. State Department, said Springfield has “a long and successful history” of taking in refugees, but the growing numbers have led to his concern “for the safety of both our citizens and the refugees themselves.”

Many of the refugees are being placed in substandard housing, and are placing burdens on the Code Enforcement, Police and School departments, Sarno said.

The Police Department has reported an increase in fraud, robbery and property crimes committed against refugees, Sarno said. In addition, the refugees are placing a strain on the school system, coming from around the world,*** he said.

In his petition, Sarno said he has become aware of “some startling facts” from reports he has received from city departments. That has included housing with “significant life safety violations” of the state building and sanitary codes that have included “rampant insect and vermin infestations, the absence of any smoke detectors,” and illegal wiring, broken doors, and blocked exits, he said.

“The fact that refugees are being placed into properties containing the reprehensible conditions, cited above, is compelling evidence that local agencies are not employing people with the necessary qualifications to conduct adequate safety and habitability inspections for potential settlement units, and are not properly utilizing the funding being provided by the Federal Government,” Sarno said.

Sarno’s four-page letter was sent to Barbara Day, chief of domestic resettlement, refuge admissions for the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

“We have done more than our fair share,” Sarno said Tuesday in an interview. “It’s not fair to the refugees or Springfield.”

“I have to draw the line,” Sarno said. “The number of refugee children who have little to no English language skills has overwhelmed the very limited interpretation capabilities of our public schools, and funding that was intended for use in assisting existing pupils.”

The mayor and some of his department heads met in July with organizations involved in the refugee resettlement efforts — Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and the Jewish Family Services.

Read on to hear what Jewish Family Services said about shifting refugees to the county.  There was no comment from the Catholics or the Lutherans.

***I don’t have time to do a thorough analysis, but you can go here and check out Springfield, Massachusetts’ numbers (or your town’s numbers) and the nationality of its/your resettled refugees.    Open the file entitled:  Arrivals by Destination City by Nationality by FY as of July 31, 2013.

The numbers do not represent those who might have come to a town or city as ‘secondary migrants’ (refugees resettled elsewhere but who have gone to certain cities to be with their own kind of people).

Springfield has “welcomed” 1,712 refugees since 2001 from the following countries:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Dem. Rep. Congo
Sierra Leone

An afterthought:  I wonder does the Mayor know that the Refugee Resettlement Program run by the State Department was the brainchild of former Mass. Senator Ted Kennedy?