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Media Center

October 2, 2018 2:56pm

GLI voices support for refugee services in Greater Louisville

In letters last week, GLI voiced support for the work done by Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Catholic Charities, Migration and Refugees Services. These two local agencies provide critical services to refugees resettled in Louisville from around the world. Their services include assistance with basics needs such as housing and obtaining proper documentation as well as job training, learning English as a second language, and legal support. As a result of recent reductions to the number of refugees admitted into the United States, there is a risk that our region could lose one of these local agencies. As we stated in our letters, the loss of one of these agencies would be a loss for all refugees living in Louisville.

GLI has long recognized the valuable contributions that refugees have made to Greater Louisville’s economy. Between 2013 and 2017, close to 6,000 refugees arrived in Louisville. Research by New American Economy shows that refugees have a higher entrepreneurship rate than the U.S.-born population and, in the long-term, refugee households earn a median income higher than the national average. The positive economic impact that refugees have had on our regional economy is just one reason why GLI joined with the city of Louisville and other community partners in 2016 to launch the Global Louisville Action Plan, an initiative aimed at attracting, retaining, and growing our foreign-born population and workforce.

GLI views maintaining our two refugee resettlement agencies in Louisville as fully in step with the goals of the Global Louisville Action Plan and our larger goals of accelerating economic growth in Greater Louisville. The community connections and partnerships developed and nurtured by Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Catholic Charities, Migration and Refugees Services over the past two decades provide a crucial foundation for refugees as they move toward integration, self-sufficiency, and beyond.

Our letters were sent to Church World Services and the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops—two of nine voluntary agencies throughout the country that coordinate with the U.S. Department of State to provide reception and placement services to refugees. These voluntary agencies coordinate with organizations like Kentucky Refugee Ministries and Catholic Charities, Migration and Refugees Services to provide services at the local level. The recent reduction to the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. has led these voluntary agencies to review cities being served by two or more local agencies.

Our hope is that both local agencies will be able to remain in Louisville in order for our refugee community to continue thriving and actively contributing to economic growth in our region.

Read more about the Global Louisville Action Plan.