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Where is the $8M to assist the Haitian refugees?

It is very irresponsible for the leaders of IFSI to sign an $8 million contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide services to the Haitian refugees if they knew that their organization did not have the skill and resources to provide these services. We had hope when the Massachusetts legislature allocated $8 million to IFSI for Haitian refugee resettlement. Sadly, 9 months later, Haitian advocates are still struggling to figure out what they can do to help homeless refugees ahead of the winter season.

We are very disappointed with IFSI's negligent attitude to the chaotic living conditions of Haitian refugees. IFSI is a new organization that has no experience in refugee resettlement or housing, the administration should ask IPSI to work in partnership with organizations that have experience in refugee resettlement or at least in partnership with other established local organizations. Now IFSI is asking homeowners and churches to donate their spaces to house refugees. First, churches are not designed for housing purposes, churches would have to do a lot of renovations to meet basic living standards. Bringing tenants at will, without jobs, into a private house can have complicated legal and financial consequences in the future. I know many homeowners that losing their home because roommates refuse to leave when the landlord can no longer provide them with temporary shelter. This is something I do but IFSI can’t blame homeowners because she took upon herself the responsibility to provide housing to the refugees for a large sum of $8M. As members of the community, we must have a moral responsibility to support Haitian refugees.

Dr. Gabeau needs to start a serious conversation with community leaders to address the refugee crisis. I guess there are no bad intentions, but it looks like ego and incompetence. Now all the local organizations that used to make ultimate sacrifices to help our refugees are waiting for IFSI to help them. Dr. Gabeau, you made a proposal alone, the legislature approved your request of $8M, the governor signed it, now it is the responsibility of IFSI to provide services to Haitian refugees. As a community advocate and member of the clergy, I have a moral responsibility to fight on behalf of refugees. Please join us in this fight, Haitian refugees should have a place to live before winter.


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