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Council to Provide $45K in Funding to Bhutanese Service Center

Emergency Funding Authorization Saves Vital Refugee Resource Facility

[COLUMBUS, OH] New American residents in Columbus are being negatively impacted by the new U.S. immigration policy. Its unintended consequences are leaving members of the Bhutanese-Nepali community out in the cold unable to access the needed resources to navigate and resettle in the Capital City.

Councilmembers Emmanuel Remy, Elizabeth Brown, Jaiza Page and President Pro Tem Michael Stinziano are sponsoring ordinance 2624-2018 to provide $45,000 in emergency funding to the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio (BCCO). The center is a vital community resource that focuses on long-term case management to assist families and connect them to local services. This funding keeps the doors open. 

“This is a direct result of substantial changes to federal immigration policy,” said Councilmember Remy. “Refugee resettlement organizations have experienced dramatic cuts in operational support. Now they are turning toward us. We are working to fill the gaps to help our community.”

Council is scheduled to vote on the funding during the September 24, 2018 meeting.

"I like to thank Councilmember Emmanuel Remy for taking the leadership role in advocating for the Bhutanese community,” said Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio Chairperson Bhuwan Pyakurel. “With this grant, hundreds of Bhutanese students and community members will be positively impacted. We are very happy and grateful for this help."

In 2017, the BCCO lost approximately 90% of its federal funding with the non-renewal of its Office of Refugee Resettlement grant. The Council funding will allow the BCCO to continue operations while allowing the organization to focus on delivering the broader services and programs needed by the community while securing other funding resources.

“Refugees and immigrants provide a direct boost to our local economy by owning small businesses, contributing $1.6 billion annually in spending power and paying hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Brown. “Not only does it make good economic sense to ensure our Bhutanese-Nepali refugees have access to services, but it is simply what’s right. President Trump’s administration often fails to see that a rising tide lifts all boats, but in Columbus, we know that every community counts.”

The BCCO provides direct services via case management to nearly 2,000 refugees and their families annually. The programming, training and events impact more than 5,000 people a year.

“The Bhutanese Community Center is a valuable resource,” Remy continued. “It is our duty to uplift areas that are in need of help. This is why we serve.”

Central Ohio’s Bhutanese-Nepali refugee population has increased by nearly 400% in the last eight years. Currently, The Ohio State University estimates there are 23,437 Bhutanese-Nepali people in Central Ohio and projects this population to increase to 30,000 over the next five years.

For more information on the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio visit