Worcester, Massachusetts having problems with refugee overload, contractor gets more grant $$$

Refugee resettlement contractor CEO Angela Bovill in 2013:  “This is a business!”

This story is one I had hoped to get to before going away last weekend.  Obviously there have been problems in overloaded Worcester and now the resettlement contractor is getting more grant money to help refugees access “services” which is code for welfare and other types of special treatment for this special class of immigrant.

I had to laugh (I know it isn’t funny!), but here we have Obama’s seeding program already being put into action.  And, the buzzword  “integration” is front and center.  This is not a plan for the refugees to “assimilate” better.  The extra grant is now to further smooth the way for refugees to get their services—the ultimate goal of Obama’s integration/colonizing scheme.

From the Telegram earlier this month.  Don’t miss the comments, all critical and some reporting that the city is a “dumping ground.”

WORCESTER — Refugees by the thousands have found a welcoming environment in Worcester, as low-cost housing, public transportation and available jobs provide the required building blocks sought by the U.S. State Department.

But integrating refugees into the community remains a struggle, with gaps in various services, fragmented integration of others and outdated procedures that don’t reflect the current influx, officials said this week.

Armed with a $170,722 grant from the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, Ascentria Care Alliance hopes to reshape the integration template.

Pay attention to this next line.  When the bill that was being spearheaded by Senator Ted Kennedy, that ultimately became the Refugee Act of 1980, critics in Congress wanted assurance that the bill would not just be a pipeline of foreign poverty into American cities, so “self-sufficiency” in a brief period of time was promised.  But, you and I both know that ‘refugees’ with little education and job skills are not getting jobs very quickly so with this ‘reshaping template’ contractors and the State Department are trying to get away from the original expectation (to effectively change the law without Congress!) that refugees would be self-sufficient quickly and off the welfare rolls ASAP.

The planning grant, announced this week, will fund a yearlong effort to create a collaborative integration model — one that focuses on resettled refugees’ overall well-being and not just employment and self-sufficiency. [What a bunch of gobbledegook! —ed]

Angela Bovill, CEO of Ascentria Care Alliance. The agency was originally known as Lutheran Social Services of New England. I think they change names just to make it more difficult for the average American to figure out who they are. Or, did they get in some sort of trouble under their old name? underhttp://www.ascentria.org/about-us/faq-about-new-name

“How do we unify services around these people?” said Angela B. Bovill, president and chief executive officer of Ascentria, formerly Lutheran Social Services of New England***, a $59 million human service agency. “There are gaps and fragments and pressures that are not being met.”

Worcester is the largest site for refugee resettlement in Massachusetts, with more than 1,600 refugees resettled in the city in the past five years, including Bhutanese, Burundians, Congolese, Liberians, Iraqis, Russians, Somalis and Vietnamese. Over the past three years, the majority (51 percent) have come from Iraq, with Bhutan second at 28 percent.

The State Department normally provides about eight months of assistance to refugees, with the major emphasis on securing a job and finding a place to live.

But many refugees arrive with many health and social needs because of years spent in crowded refugee camps, separation from families and unfamiliarity with the English language.

Building a framework that assesses and connects the refugee population to those services will be a focus of the planning grant, which usually turns into multiyear support totaling about $2 million.

“This issue has bubbled up a couple of times,” said Janice B. Yost, president of the Health Foundation. “Worcester has the opportunity to be an excellent pilot for the rest of the U.S. to follow.”

The planning grant will build relationships with the city of Worcester, the state Office of Refugees and Immigrants, Community Legal Aid, Family Continuity, the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester Public Schools.

Read it all.

It is probably too late for Worcester as the resettlement agency is well-entrenched and likely now bringing the extended family members of all the first ‘refugees’ they brought in.  But, it is not too late for places like Spartanburg, SC.   Everytown America is a potential resettlement site, so please check out Ten Things your town needs to know!

This is a business—a very complicated business!

We reported on Angela Bovill’s comments in 2013 as she was taking over the reins of then Lutheran Social Services of New England:

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.

Note to residents of Worcester:  Two “pockets of resistance” have formed in Massachusetts—both Springfield and Lynn mayors are trying to get the spigot closed on the refugee pipeline!

***See our previous posts on problems with Lutheran Social Services New England.

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