Local resettlement agencies could lose federal funding under executive order.

Funding Concerns for Local Resettlement Agencies
Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-01 18:41:33-05

Nebraska's largest refugee resettlement agency says it may lose federal funding for part of its programs after an executive order last week.

Each year, more than a thousand refugees are resettled in Nebraska. Nebraska has three resettlement agencies tasked with helping refugees access public assistance, and assimilating into Nebraska culture.
But the largest of those agencies is concerned federal funding will stop flowing. Lutheran Family Services has resettled nearly 600 refugees since last October under the resettlement program with the federal government.
"We give them cultural orientation and all the activities," said Vice President of Programs Todd Reckling. "Sign them up for public benefits."
The federal resettlement program lasts for the first 90 days a refugee is in the U.S. and many refugees in Nebraska are in the program. It allots around $950 per refugee to find housing, food, transportation and paying for the time of a case worker - along with much more.
"Help them understand the customs and cultures and laws of Nebraska," Reckling said.
But after President Donald Trump's order to suspend the federal refugee resettlement program, Reckling says some of Lutheran Family Services' programs might have to end.
"We're very concerned," Reckling said. "We will have to adjust our program accordingly for that 90-day resettlement program."
Shafiq Jahish is a former refugee who was settled in Nebraska a few years ago. He now works for Lutheran Family Services helping refugees find jobs.
"Its very hard for them to adjust to a new place where you don't know their language," Jahish said. "You don't know where to go, you don't know how to do your grocery shopping."
Jahish says it took years before he was cleared to enter the u-s with his wife and children - despite working with the U.S. military as an interpreter. Once in Nebraska, Jahish says the curriculum in place was invaluable to helping his family adapt to the state, which is why Reckling says they'll do their best to keep those programs.
"We have a lot of need and we'll have to figure out what to do," Reckling said.
While the future of the federal funding is unclear, Lutheran Family Services does have other funding sources that provide services for refugees after the 90 period of the federal refugee program.