As US government shuts down, resettlement agencies will have to dig into their private pockets

It is about time they did!

Frances McBrayer, senior director of refugee resettlement services: Don’t interrupt refugee benefits!

When the Refugee Act of 1980 became law, the understanding was that refugees were not to be on welfare (we were not going to be importing poverty!) and that it was to be a public-private partnership where the private non-profits were supposed to be using their own funds along with taxpayer dollars for resettlement.

As we have chronicled at RRW over the years, the contractors are often 90% or even more funded by taxpayers, while some of their CEO’s are making high six-digit salaries!

So, I don’t have much sympathy for Catholic Charities of Atlanta quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  Message to CC: Go to your church members and ask them to contribute!  Try some real Christian charity for a change!

The federal government shutdown has halted cash assistance and medical aid for refugees resettled in Georgia.

Refugees are permitted to use the federal cash aid for food, clothing, shelter, transportation and any other expenses until they become employed or otherwise self-sufficient, according to the Georgia Department of Human Services. A family of three is eligible to receive up to $280 monthly for up to eight months. Like the cash assistance, federal medical aid is based on gross income or resources.

“There may be other private funds available to refugees by the local resettlement agencies, churches, civic organization, etc.,” the state agency said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Catholic Charities Atlanta bemoaned the loss of federal funding.

“Catholic Charities is hopeful for a quick resolution to all of this in order not to have these refugee benefits interrupted,” said Frances McBrayer, senior director of refugee resettlement services for Catholic Charities Atlanta.

I just now checked out Catholic Charities of Atlanta Form 990 (most recent one available). They took in about $5.7 million in that year.  $1.75 million came directly from “government grants,” another $2 million came from “related organizations.”  I can only guess that might be the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which would make it also taxpayer dollars (p. 9 of Form 990).   Their expenses on Page 10 included: salaries, benefits, office expenses, advertising, travel, conferences etc. amounting to $4.5 million (I’ve rounded the numbers).  So basically, most of the income they receive goes toward keeping the organization running so they can get refugees resettled and signed-up for public assistance.

How about a special Bingo night or two to raise money for refugees during the government shut-down!  Just a suggestion!

For all of our posts on problems in Atlanta, click here.  For more on the Refugee Resettlement Program and government goodies, see our fact sheet.

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