Mapping Local Resettlement

To study the impact of refugee resettlement in host communities, we developed a research strategy that we would apply in our two case study sites. This process included walking through these two sites and taking photos of all businesses, organizations, public spaces, and anything else that stood out to us––It is important to note that we did this as relative outsiders to the communities of focus, and therefore the spaces we deemed “interesting” may differ from a resident’s perspective–– As we collected this data, we created a classification system for the types of spaces we came across. The classifications are as follows:

  • Community Centers: Organizations that serve a specific community, or work to build a community through various social, recreational, or educational activities.
  • Religious Institutions: Spaces whose main functional purpose is religious.
  • Grocery Markets: Businesses that mainly sell food products, cooked or uncooked, and that do not have dine-in seating.
  • Other Businesses: All businesses that do not fit into any of our other categories.
  • Public Spaces: Green or open space that is shared by the public
  • Public Resources: Businesses and organizations that provide a service to any residents who need it
  • Food and Drink: Businesses serving food or drinks that have dine-in seating; mostly bars, restaurants, and cafés.

To help visualize these settlement sites, we created a series of still maps, as well as an interactive map that includes both locations, featuring a photo and brief description of each site we identified. Some spaces fit into more than one category, however, for the purposes of this study we organized them how we believe best describes the space according to our classifications.


 Vermont Refugee Resettlement Diagram 

vt_settlement_chart
Direct Refugee Resettlement
-Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP)
-Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV)
-State Coordinator
Mutual Aid Associations
-Somali Bantu Community Association of Vermont (SBCAVT)
-Vermont Bhutanese Association (VBA)
Municipal Government
-Burlington
-Winooski
Service Providers
-Howard Center
-United Way
-CVOEO
-Sara Holbrook Community Center
-Champlain Housing Trust
-King Street Center
-Vermont Adult Learning
-Mercy Connections
-Burlington School District
-Winooski School District
-Fletcher Free Library
-Hunger Free Vermont

 

 

 

 


Burlington, VT


Burlington City Profile (click to view)

Vermont State Coordinators:

State Refugee Coordinator: Denise Lamoureux

State Refugee Health Coordinator: Martha Friedman

ORR Regional Representative: Julie Munro

Background Information:

Population in 2014: 42,211 (100% urban, 0% rural)
Estimated per capita income in 2013: $25,994
Median House or Condo Value in 2013: $259,360
Median Gross Rent (2013): $991
Racial Breakdown:

  • White: 85.8%

  • Asian alone: 4.6%

  • Black alone: 3.7%

  • Hispanic: 3.1%

  • Two or more races: 2.2%

Land Area: 10.6 square miles
Population Density: 3,997 people per square mile (average)
FBP: 8.1% (State Average: 3.8%)
Unemployment Rate (September 2015): 3.1% (State Average: 3.9%)
Most Common Industries:

  • Educational services: 16%

  • Retail trade: 15%

  • Accommodation and food services: 15%

  • Manufacturing: 9%

  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 8%

  • Health care and social assistance: 7%

  • Construction: 6%

        Local Agency Responsible for Settlement of Refugees:
Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (USCIS)
Colchester, VT 05446,
Director: Amila Merdzanovic
About: VRRP is Vermont's local field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and has been operating for over 30 years. Services are provided with the help of various local community organizations.

Some Services Include:

  • Reception at the airport

  • Interpretation and translation

  • Cultural orientation

  • Housing assistance

  • Basic furnishings and housing wares

  • English language training

  • Employment counseling

  • Professional, culturally appropriate support

Country of Origin

#Settled 2002-2015

Azerbaijan

3

Bhutan

810

Bosnia & Herzegovina

10

Burma

57

Burundi

1

Congo

34

Eritrea

1

Iraq

37

Liberia

1

Nepal

3

Nigeria

1

Serbia

2

Somalia

42

Somalia

2

Sri Lanka

1

Sudan

8

Togo

1

Vietnam

5

Total

1,032

        Secondary Organizations:
Associations-Africans Living in Vermont (AALV)
Burlington, VT
Leadership:
Executive Director: Yacouba Jacob Bogre
Program Specialist: Bhuwan Sharma
What They Do:

  • Interpretation and translation services

  • Health and behavior: This program focuses on domestic violence education and assistance and HIV prevention services for youth

  • Workforce development

  • Transition and integration: Connects immigrants and refugees with social service providers with the help of case managers

  • New Farms for New Americans (NFNA): This program provides subsistence size plots of land to all participants to increase food security among immigrants and refugees. NFNA oversees six acres of farmland, provides workshops on the specifics of farming in Vermont, and helps farmers to overcome the barriers that may prevent them from receiving farming and gardening technical skills.

Somali Bantu Association of Vermont
Winooski, VT
Leadership:
Office Manager: Mohamed Muktar
What They Do:

  • Adult literacy classes

  • New Fathers Initiative program: Support group for refugee fathers adjusting to life in Vermont

  • Knitting group project: Meant to create a environment where refugee women can socialize and form a bond over traditional crafts

  • Tabar Women’s Leadership Program

  • Youth Recreational Program

  • Reparative Probation Project

  • Community Support Program

  • Community Farming Project

  • Vital Information project

  • Citizenship classes

  • Interpretation services

Vermont Bhutanese Association
Winooski, VT
What They Do:

  • Foster intra and inter-community communications

  • Encourage cultural and religious identity, heritage and freedom

  • Advance personal, educational and occupational growth

Islamic Society of Vermont
Colchester, VT
Leadership:
Vice President (Acting President): Br. Farhad Khan

Sara Holbrook Community Center

Burlington, VT 05401
Leadership:
Executive Director: Leisa Pollander
Associate Director: Jenny Evans
What They Do:

  • Afterschool and summer programs

  • New Arrivals summer program: Allows immigrant and refugee children to practice their English and continue to learn in between school years

  • Free Adult English Classes

  • Food assistance

        Newspaper Articles:
“Twenty-Five Years and 6,300 People Later: A Vermont Refugee Report”
Written by Kevin J. Kelley
January 15, 2014
This article looks at the refugee resettlement program in Vermont as a whole, including issues of backlash and discrimination as well as success stories of various refugees. It also discusses some of the barriers for refugees integrating into their new communities, and some of the ways local organizations are assisting them.
http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/twenty-five-years-and-6300-people-later-a-vermont-refugee-report/Content?oid=2296187

“Out of Africa…. And Into Vermont”
Written by Kevin J. Kelley
April 4, 2007
This article discusses the resettlement process for African refugees arriving in Vermont, including some of the reasons Vermont is attractive for new Americans, such as the public education system and general social acceptance.
http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/out-of-africa-and-into-vermont/Content?oid=2127066

“Adapting to Vermont’s growing refugee population”
Written by Tim Simard
Spring, 2012
This issue of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont newsletter features a section on growing refugee and foreign-born populations in Vermont. It focuses on the language barrier as a major concern for refugees adjusting to their new communities, and especially when it comes to navigating the healthcare system.
http://www.bcbsvt.com/wps/wcm/connect/d9989438-b7f7-4ce6-b934-a20922a91eac/finePoints_Spring_2012.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

“Exiles on North Street”
Written by Ken Picard
December 10, 2008
Tells the story of several newly arrived Iraqi refugees and their frustrations with VRRP and the
settlement process as a whole. They had once held high paying jobs and nice homes in Iraq, and express their discontent and disappointment of what life in Vermont has been for them compared to their expectations.
http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/exiles-on-north-street/Content?oid=2135918


Winooski, VT


Winooski City Profile (click to view)

Vermont State Coordinators:

State Refugee Coordinator: Denise Lamoureux

State Refugee Health Coordinator: Martha Friedman

ORR Regional Representative: Julie Munro

Background Information:

Population in 2014: 7,228 (%100 urban, 0% rural)

Estimated per capita income in 2013: $26,240

Median House or Condo Value in 2013: $221,680

Median Gross Rent (2013): $980

Racial Breakdown:

  • White: 85.9%

  • Black alone: %6.3

  • Asian alone: 4.0%

  • Two or more races: 1.6%

  • Hispanic: 1.5%

Land Area: 1.4 square miles

Population Density: 5,052 people per square mile (average)

FBP: 10.3% (State Average: 3.8%)

Unemployment Rate (September 2015): 3.4% (State Average: 3.9%)

Most Common Industries:

  • Retail trade: 14%

  • Professional, scientific and technical services: 14%

  • Manufacturing: 11%

  • Educational services: 10%

  • Accommodation and food services: 8%

  • Construction: 8%

  • Health care and social assistance: 7%

Local Agency Responsible for Settlement of Refugees:

Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (USCIS)

Colchester, VT 05446

Director: Amila Merdzanovic

About: VRRP is Vermont's local field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and has been operating for over 30 years. Services are provided with the help of various local community organizations.

 

Some Services Include:

  • Reception at the airport

  • Interpretation and translation

  • Cultural orientation

  • Housing assistance

  • Basic furnishings and housing wares

  • English language training

  • Employment counseling

  • Professional, culturally appropriate support

Settlement Breakdown 2002-2015

Country of Origin

#Settled 2002-2015

Bhutan

389

Burma

28

Croatia

4

Dem. Rep. of Congo

1

India

1

Iraq

55

Nepal

1

Somalia

32

Somalia

2

Total

511

Secondary Organizations:

Associations-Africans Living in Vermont (AALV)

Burlington, VT

Leadership:

Executive Director: Yacouba Jacob Bogre

Program Specialist: Bhuwan Sharma

What They Do:

  • Interpretation and translation services

  • Health and behavior: This program focuses on domestic violence education and assistance and HIV prevention services for youth

  • Workforce development

  • Transition and integration: Connects immigrants and refugees with social service providers with the help of case managers

  • New Farms for New Americans (NFNA): This program provides subsistence size plots of land to all participants to increase food security among immigrants and refugees. NFNA oversees six acres of farmland, provides workshops on the specifics of farming in Vermont, and helps farmers to overcome the barriers that may prevent them from receiving farming and gardening technical skills.

Somali Bantu Association of Vermont

Winooski, VT

Leadership:

Office Manager: Mohamed Muktar

What They Do:

  • Adult literacy classes

  • New Fathers Initiative program: Support group for refugee fathers adjusting to life in Vermont

  • Knitting group project: Meant to create a environment where refugee women can socialize and form a bond over traditional crafts

  • Tabar Women’s Leadership Program

  • Youth Recreational Program

  • Reparative Probation Project

  • Community Support Program

  • Community Farming Project

  • Vital Information project

  • Citizenship classes

  • Interpretation services

Vermont Bhutanese Association

Winooski, VT

What They Do:

  • Foster intra and inter-community communications

  • Encourage cultural and religious identity, heritage and freedom

  • Advance personal, educational and occupational growth

Islamic Society of Vermont

Colchester, VT

Leadership:

Vice President (Acting President): Br. Farhad Khan

Sara Holbrook Community Center

Burlington, VT 05401

Leadership:

Executive Director: Leisa Pollander

Associate Director: Jenny Evans

What They Do:

  • Afterschool and summer programs

  • New Arrivals summer program: Allows immigrant and refugee children to practice their English and continue to learn in between school years

  • Free Adult English Classes

  • Food assistance

Newspaper Articles:

“In Winooski, Many See Refugee Resettlement As Economic Advantage”

Written by Nina Keck

June 13, 2016

This article uses Winooski as an example of a successful settlement site to which Rutland can compare too. They highlight the success of two specific refugees and how the refugee community has helped the city grow.

http://digital.vpr.net/post/winooski-many-see-refugee-resettlement-economic-advantage#stream/0

 

“Vermont Bhutanese Graduate From Being Renters to Homeowners –– and Landlords”

Written by Ken Picard

March 13, 2013

This article tells the story of Bhutanese refugees coming to Vermont, and working their way up to become homeowners and landlords. It discusses their transition from a refugee camp in Nepal to their initial arrival in Burlington, and some of the hardships they faced during the adjustment period.

http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/vermont-bhutanese-graduate-from-being-renters-to-homeowners-and-landlords/Content?oid=2243077

“Winooski describes positive refugee experience”

Written by Gordon Dritschilo

July 1, 2016

Describe the success of refugee integration in Winooski, and also addresses common misconceptions regarding refugees and rising crime rates.

http://www.timesargus.com/article/RH/20160701/NEWS01/160709954/0/SPORTS

 


Visualizing Refugee Neighborhoods Interactive Map


Impact on Host Communities

Photovoice

Vermonter Poll

Interviews