Sheesh! A few minutes ago we told you about the huge US refugee contractor—the IRC—working with Starbucks to find refugee employees to make your morning coffees in the San Diego area, and up pops more news (not good news!) about the IRC there.
This sort of news will result in a cry for more start-up money for refugees. It will never result in formal questions being asked by Congress about whether we are bringing in more refugees than we can afford!
From KPBS San Diego:
Three large refugee families that a local nonprofit helped resettle at an El Cajon apartment complex are being asked to move because they have too many people living in their homes.
They came forward after KPBS aired an investigation nearly two weeks ago about other refugee families who said the same resettlement agency — the International Rescue Committee in San Diego — put them into too-small apartments by encouraging them to sign leases that omitted the names of some occupants.
IRC’s national office in New York has said it is investigating the recent claims made by refugees. In an email Tuesday, a spokesman said the office is aware of the new cases, which it is also looking into, “and is supporting our clients through their next steps.”
The three families, who moved into their two-bedroom apartments last year, said they received the 30-day notices to vacate a day after KPBS’s story was published on July 27. A manager for the complex, which is under new ownership, said only five people are allowed in a two-bedroom apartment. Two of the families have eight members, while another has seven.
Lalmir Hamdard, a refugee from Afghanistan who arrived here in September, said he relied on an IRC translator to help him sign the English-language lease. A copy of the document provided to KPBS showed five names on the lease instead of all eight members of his family.
“At the time, I didn’t understand it in English — even my daughters with little English didn’t understand,” he said in Farsi through a translator. “I only understood that it said here, ‘Write this, sign here, do this.’ And I did.”
Two neighboring Syrian families who speak Arabic shared similar stories. They would have to find a three-bedroom apartment, which would be more expensive, and they are already having trouble keeping up with rent on their two-bedroom units. However, even a larger apartment may not be big enough depending on a complex’s policy.
Nice to see some real investigative journalism for a change, but reporter needs to ask….
Where is the US State Department that oversees agreements with its contractors (the IRC is one of nine that contracts with the federal government to place refugees) which surely include rules about how many tenants are in each apartment or house?