Editor’s note: This is one of multiple stories from the Oct. 10 City Council meeting.
At their Oct. 10 meeting, City Council members authorized creation of a $50,000 Refugee Resettlement Fund, to provide an array of services to migrants in Evanston. The proposal had been held from the Sept. 12 City Council meeting.
With an initial amount of $50,000, the Refugee Resettlement Fund would assist migrants in such areas as translation, well-being, and learning about local government and schools, as well as provide financial help.
Ike Ogbo, Director of Health and Human Services for the city, said the Refugee Resettlement Fund would have a broader reach than the Community Relief Fund, and acknowledged that it might be a good idea either to rename one of the committees or consolidate the two.
While Council members appeared to endorse the idea, some had difficulty distinguishing this new committee from the Community Relief Fund, created in 2020 to provide assistance to undocumented Evanston residents who do not qualify for general assistance or other assistance programs. The federal law of 8 U.S. Code § 1621(b) allows for short-term, non-cash and in-kind emergency disaster relief to undocumented residents in need of assistance during an emergency, according to the city.
A memo from Ogbo said, “The impetus to create a Refugee Resettlement Fund is to assist refugee or migrant families who have fled their countries of origin due to violence, political unrest, persecution and war to rebuild their lives in the U.S. The fund allocation will assist in the coordination of services for a period of time yet to be determined for housing, food, clothing and transportation.
“The fund allocation may also assist in other areas of need such as assisting families in applying for public benefits, State IDs and addressing necessary or emergency health needs. The funding for the proposed Refugee Resettlement Fund will be supported by the Human Services Fund.
“Just like the Community Relief Fund, the Refugee Resettlement Fund will be delivered in the most professional, responsible and equitable manner to enable families overcome life barriers and relieve uncontrollable circumstances that threaten basic life needs.”