Kentucky Refugee Contractor Pivots to Helping Refugee Clients Cope with Covid

Kentucky is in the top ten refugee resettlement states in the nation, but between the President’s reduction in the number of refugees that can be admitted and the present suspension of the refugee program due to the Coronavirus crisis, the resettlement agency in Bowling Green, International Center of Kentucky, is not seeing many new arrivals and is now trying to educate their ‘clients’ about the virus and help many with their unemployment problems.

Before I get to the story, I hope all of you are well.  I don’t know about you but even with more time, I’m not being as productive blogging here and at ‘Frauds and Crooks’ these days as I should be. But, one good thing is that there is more time to communicate with family and with friends, especially elderly friends, in my community.

From the Bowling Green Daily News:

Pandemic disrupts refugee resettlement by International Center

Before the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, Bowling Green’s refugee resettlement agency planned to welcome 400 arrivals this year.

Albert Mbanfu director of the International Center in Bowling Green will be helping refugee ‘clients’ get their unemployment insurance.

Now, with more than 500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide, those plans have been thrown into chaos. International Center of Kentucky Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said Thursday that he expects the center will resettle less than half of the refugees it did last year.

“They will be barely trickling in,” Mbanfu said, speaking to a group of community representatives who assist with resettlement efforts.

[….]

Now, Bowling Green’s International Center has largely pivoted to assisting refugees who’ve been laid off work and informing the local community what steps they need to take to protect themselves from COVID-19, the respiratory disease that coronavirus causes.

Through social media and on its website, Mbanfu said, the center has been sharing videos in various languages like Swahili and Arabic to help inform Bowling Green’s refugee community about the virus and its effects.

Leyda Becker, Bowling Green’s international communities liaison, said the city also has resources in multiple languages online at bgky.org/ coronavirus.

Local refugees have also been impacted by business closures spurred by the pandemic. Mbanfu said Trace Die Cast, a top employer for local refugees, has laid off “almost all of our clients.” The employer is filing for unemployment insurance on their behalf, Mbanfu said.

I wonder why a company that makes automotive parts is laying off so many workers?

Mitch McConnell: money is on the way!

A representative from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office said during the meeting that a $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate and headed for House approval on Friday will offer some relief.

More here.

I have a pretty extensive archive on Bowling Green, see here, where there have been many problems involving refugees over the last dozen years.

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