Refugee Resettlement Watch

So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked

Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 2, 2014

Update November 17th:  Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) reports on Wyoming, here.  Washington, DC immigration lawyer whacks Wyomingites for not “welcoming” refugees.

It’s not for the jobs and the wide open spaces (or blanket-making lessons)!

They are going there to get subsidized Section 8 housing vouchers to take to another state!

***Update***  This post went through the roof yesterday, please help spread it further by sending to your lists, facebook friends and tweet it!

This is an incredible story and a great find by reader ‘pungentpeppers!’ After seven years of writing this blog I had no idea this was happening.

(See our earlier posts here and here about Somalis in Cheyenne.)

This is an NPR radio report at KQED that aired this past Wednesday. Here is the astounding transcript (but be sure to listen to the 3 minute story):

(Emphasis below is mine)

In the last few years demand for public housing assistance across the country has skyrocketed, while congressional funding has stayed flat

Cheyenne Housing Authority Director Mike Stanfield: That housing money was meant for local people.

Right now federal funds covers less than a fourth of families in the United States eligible for a Section 8 housing voucher. Waitlists for voucher in big cities are often years long, if not closed all together. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan reports that made small cities like Cheyenne more attractive to those seeking housing aid, because of shorter wait times.

Tuesday night is when Cheyenne’s Somali community gets together at the Free Evangelical Church to catch up and socialize. Its usually busy but tonight is packed: church volunteers have subbed out the regular english classes for a special lesson in blanket making. (Yeh, who needs English anyway—ed)

Cheyenne’s Somali population has grown rapidly in the last couple of years. That’s surprising because Wyoming doesn’t have an official refugee resettlement program, and most jobs around here require fluent English.

But Cheyenne has one really big draw: housing assistance.

Faiso Abdi moved to Cheyenne last year. She says she was happy living in Greeley Colorado, but she couldn’t even get on the waitlist for that city’s section 8 housing voucher program.

“The real problem is that people are desperate for the housing subsidy and they are willing to do almost anything to get one.”

Cheyenne’s voucher wait list runs almost a year, but many bigger cities like Greeley have simply stopped accepting new applicants entirely. But here’s the thing: getting your housing voucher in Cheyenne doesn’t mean you have to use it there. Organizer Gretchen Carlson says what’s called “portability” is a big draw.

“There are quite a few of them that have already lived here one year and then have moved elsewhere. But they lived here for one year in order to get that voucher.”

Housing voucher money is distributed city by city, but it all comes from the Feds, and they say that every housing voucher eventually has to become portable, or transferrable to any city in the US. Cities can decide whether to let you port your voucher immediately or require you to wait a year. So if you can’t get a housing voucher in say, Denver, you can get one in Cheyenne and, a year later, take it with you back to Denver.

“The frustration is that pot of money was provided to address housing needs here in Wyoming.”

That’s Mike Stanfield, Executive Director of the Cheyenne Housing Authority. When people take vouchers out of Cheyenne the receiving housing authority can chose to absorb the cost or keep billing Cheyenne. Stanfield says lately Cheyenne has been footing the bill more and more often. And while the average cost for a Cheyenne voucher is only about 400 dollars.

“The average cost for a ported voucher that moves somewhere else is 733 dollars.”

Now Cheyenne Housing Authority oversees about 1700 vouchers, with another 1400 families on the waitlist. Only about 70 voucher are currently ported out. Stanfield says that may not seem like much, but there are Cheyenne families on the waiting list who need help now.

“And when they are told that waiting list is 12 to 18 months that is almost beyond comprehension for those families. They are struggling trying to get to tomorrow. Let alone 18 months from now.”

Susan Popkin is a Fellow at the Urban Institute. She says portability is not a problem.

“The real problem is that people are desperate for the housing subsidy and they are willing to do almost anything to get one.”

Popkin says portability is a vital part of the system: it means families don’t have to pass up a better job somewhere else just to keep their housing. She says what’s happening in Cheyenne is a just one symptom of the overwhelming need for housing help across the United States.

“Things that used to be ‘oh well, we can handle it’ ten, fifteen years ago–they just they can’t anymore.”

In Cheyenne Housing Authority Director Mike Stanfield has decided he can’t handle the outflow of housing funds anymore. Recently he began a policy of giving preference for housing vouchers to Cheyenne locals.

Wait for it!  Can we expect CAIR to ride to the rescue of the Somali Muslims in Cheyenne?

See all of our coverage of the conflict involving Governor Matt Mead going on for a year now about whether Wyoming should become the last state in the nation to directly “welcome” the third world to come on in—our welfare is great!

And, those resettlement contractors dare to tell us that refugees bring economic benefits to communities when, in fact, they are taking from American low income people!

An afterthought:  I bet Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains helped them take advantage of Wyoming!

17 Responses to “So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked”

  1. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked […]

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  2. […] “So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked,” Refugee Resettlement Watch […]

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  3. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked […]

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  4. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked […]

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  5. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked […]

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  6. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked […]

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  7. […] It’s not for the jobs and the wide open spaces (or blanket-making lessons)! […]

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  8. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked […]

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  9. ADMIN said

    Given the relatively low population of States like Wyoming … it wouldn’t take that big an influx of fast-breeding people to change the racial and political makeup of the State.

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    • Ann Corcoran said

      So true…that’s why Wyomingites have to resist the opening of a US State Department sanctioned refugee resettlement office.

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  10. Blue said

    I live in Cheyenne and more and more I see people moving here to take advantage of the our welfare availability. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve worked my ass off to get to where I am. I’ve never asked for any help from the state, but I hope htat if I, as a local, needed it that it would be there for me. It’s politically disheartening to know that our government is basically telling us locals that they care less about us, who have been contributing to our city financially are less welcome than others. Why would you offer assistance to someone who won’t be living in the community to be able to ever give anything back? Sometimes I wonder if a monkey would be a better politician than what we have now.

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    • Ann Corcoran said

      It is a sad state of affairs, and Blue, I hope you get involved with some grassroots groups pushing back—that is all we have. The governments in Washington or Cheyenne aren’t going to help until they hear us!

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  11. […] didn’t mean to make this Somali Sunday but here are our two other posts just this morning (here and here) on the impact of Somalis arriving in extremely large numbers in the US right now as […]

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  12. pungentpeppers said

    Refugees taking over housing programs – to the detriment of locals – is a growing problem but generally has not been PC to discuss. Even when minority groups themselves complain, it’s hard to get an audience. In Southern California, Hispanics have been complaining for years about how the Vietnamese have taken over local housing programs. Here’s a link to the first story in a series on that problem:
    http://www.voiceofoc.org/county/article_ed11475e-5dae-11e4-9306-27eddc05bc3a.html

    In the U.K., Zoe Williams writes superbly for The Guardian about how the presence of too many foreigners affects housing for both rich and poor locals. She wonders: “What Makes a Nation?”. Are local people mere economic pawns to be moved and pushed aside to make way for economic progress? She persuades: “the wealth of a nation is in its people. We are the gold in its hills. Its economy is there to serve us, we’re not meat to be fed into the economy.” Read more:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/13/foreigners-best-housing-super-rich-poor-nation

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  13. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked November 2, 2014 […]

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  14. […] So why are those Somalis moving to Cheyenne, WY? Prepare to be shocked November 2, 2014 […]

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  15. […] https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2014/11/02/so-why-are-those-somalis-moving-to-cheyenne… […]

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