Columbus, OH: Somalis complain about housing conditions; but there is more to this story!

To set the stage, we have your basic story—‘legal aid’ lawyers whip up Somali tenants to complain about their landowner.  It begins as follows at The Columbus Dispatch:

Cockroaches and mice scurry across the carpeted floor where Luul Botan’s three young children play.

The bathroom and kitchen faucets leak a steady stream of water. Some of the kitchen cabinets are broken. The drawers stick. And the front door doesn’t close easily, leaving the 32-year-old mother fearful that someone might break into their North Side apartment at night.

Remember this story from 2012 where police had to break up crowds of Somalis fighting for subsidized housing in Columbus.

“The conditions are horrible, and the management at Capital Park apartments doesn’t care how bad it gets,” she said last week through a Somali interpreter.

Botan said she fears that her children, who are 5 years, 1 year and 4 months old, are being sickened by the insects and mouse droppings. She said she asked the manager five times to replace a missing screen in the living-room window of her second-floor apartment in the complex on Agler Road.

“I’m so afraid my daughter will fall out when she runs over to watch children playing outside. It’s so dangerous,” she said.

During the past several weeks, dozens of Capital Park residents have called the city of Columbus about what they say is a worsening problem. With the help of Legal Aid attorneys and other volunteers, the mostly low-income Somali refugees have also begun sending letters to the management of the 314-unit complex owned by Volunteers of America, requesting repairs that many have already asked for.

“The tenants in this case are stepping up, asking the landlord merely to do what Ohio law requires: Keep the rental property fit, habitable and up to code,” said Benjamin D. Horne, a managing attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus.

Most of the residents were resettled by the federal government from refugee camps in Kenya, he said. They have little knowledge of their rights. [Nor little knowledge of how to care for a home and appliances, according to this story—ed]

I would like to know which refugee resettlement contractor resettled them in this building.  And, what connection they have to Volunteers of America.

Who the heck is this Volunteers of America which owns the Capital Park building?  

Is this one more example of how the whole refugee business has turned into one more get-rich scheme by people tapping into the federal treasury?   I’ve been for a long time referring to refugee resettlement as an industry (driven by companies looking for cheap labor) and here is a whole new angle to the mess.

The Columbus Dispatch goes on to tell us this:

David Burch, a spokesman for the national office of the Volunteers of America in Alexandria, Va., said some complaints went directly to the city, which has sent 32 code-violation notices in the past three weeks.


Volunteers of America bought the complex in 2000 and did a $4.5 million renovation two years later, Burch said. Government sources, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provided the funds for the renovation.

The 45-year-old complex is slated for another makeover in three years, he said, when it is eligible for more federal funding.

“Our primary goal is taking care of our people and making sure they have decent housing so they can build a successful life,” he said.

Now, check out a recent Form990 for Volunteers of America’s office in Alexandria, Virginia (just one branch of VOA):

It is a NON-PROFIT ‘holding company’ with $62 million in assets and although its employees are apparently paid nothing from the organization, its CEO makes nearly a half million dollars a year in salary and benefits! from related organizations (page 7) and there are seven other employees in the 6-figure range.  What related organizations?

These financial machinations are all way beyond my ability to understand, but it sure confirms for me that there are some big players with big money (much of it your tax dollars) helping to drive the importation of “refugees” into America, while hiding under the white hat of humanitarianism.

What is up with Ohio—it sure is being targeted as a “welcoming” state for refugees? Making sure Ohio is blue?  See our Ohio archive here and see especially this post where “Welcoming America” came to town in Cleveland over a year ago to be sure the community there is ready to welcome more immigrants.  Apparently, Columbus is vying with Minneapolis in building a Somali enclave.

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