Housing funny-business involving Lutheran Social Services.
Over the years we have gotten whiffs of ‘strange doings’ going on between landlords and federal refugee resettlement contractors and this story from Battlecreek, MI gives us a tantalizing peek into how the ‘humanitarian’ Lutheran Social Services of Michigan (LSSM) operates.
All I know is that, please watch for housing problems in refugee overloaded cities.
You will see refugees placed in slums, apartments with more residents than local zoning allows, conflicts with neighbors, landlords waking up to what they got into and trying now to get out, cozy relations between refugee contractors and certain landlords, competition between American poor and disabled and refugees for limited housing, and the list goes on. In fact, you will see even more competition this year as the contractors are expected to find places for the 85,000 refugees Obama has promised America.
Sam Beals is the CEO of Lutheran Social Services Michigan. Since the article never names who the spokesperson is for LSSM in the housing dispute, the next best thing is to identify the head honcho.
Here is the news from WWMT.com. This is the kind of story some local Michigan activist, concerned with too many refugees coming to the state, should dig into. I bet there is a lot more than is being said here! Emphasis below is mine:
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Refugees and community organizers say more than 60 refugee families received notices that their apartment leases would not be renewed.
“At the time the letter was sent, the apartment complexes had received information which caused the complexes to believe that the families/residents who received the latter had too many residents occupying the apartment units,” wrote Campbell’s lawyer, David Zebell.
The article reports that the landlord changed his mind and refugees can stay, but here is more:
Ginger Dowdle, a Battle Creek community organizer said she first became aware of the notices when an middle-eastern refugee approached her with concerns.
She said Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, which helps organize and place the refugees, did not challenge the notices, but instead, told the refugees about an option to buy homes recently acquired by the landlord of River and River Oaks Apartments. [That is the same landlord with whom they are having problems now.—ed]
“I tried to make them [refugees] aware, that if this is happening to them now and there’s no reason for them to be evicted, I would be very careful getting involved with this land contract for a home,” she said. [By the way, one of the things resettlement contractors brag about is that refugees are buying homes, do they get special government funded deals?—ed]
Dowdle said that a representative from Lutheran Social Services of Michigan indicated that LSS told refugees they would have to move out in one year, something refugees say never happened.
A spokesperson for LSSM defended the organization’s response to the notices.
As for community organizer Ginger Dowdle, she is in the process of making sure all the refugees know about the reversal in policy, and their rights.
“I feel like this has been going on for quite some time,” she said, expressing disappointment with both apartment management and LSSM.
I wondered if LSSM was running out of housing and thus trying to move some previous ‘clients’ into homes so that they could be sure to have apartments in order to keep the flow of new paying clients coming into the city.
Has anyone asked LSSM for its FY 2016 R & P Abstracts? Go to the handy list of resettlement contractor offices around the country, find the one closest to you and ask for their FY 2016 R & P Abstract. The Abstract will tell you how many the refugee contractor thinks they can handle this year (from what countries) and what amenities your town is offering (which might be a surprise to you!).