UPDATE: Refugee Services Contracts Signed!

We are happy to share that today Commissioner Clyde Reese signed and executed contracts approving $4.1 million in federal funds mandated to provide support services for refugees inGeorgiavia social service agencies such as Lutheran Services of Georgia (LSG). LSG would like to offer its sincerest thanks and gratitude to Commissioner Reese, Governor Deal, and all of those who have supported us by working to bring about the approval of these funds.  The outpour of round-the-clock phone calls, e-mails, and letters the state received from congregations, organizations, and citizens no doubt played a tremendous role in bringing about the release of this vital funding. Elected officials of the city ofClarkston,DeKalbCountyand Georgia General Assembly, as well as statewide, were also extraordinarily helpful, for which we are infinitely appreciative.

We are glad the state recognizes that refugees are an incredible strength to the state ofGeorgiaand will support the continuance of these programs to help them achieve self-sufficiency. The entire refugee-serving community relies on this federal funding to provide a wide variety of direct services to both newly arrived and established refugee clients, including employment training, job placement, medical assistance, and home management support.

Refugees supported by these programs upon arrival contribute to society in a number positive, meaningful ways, not the least of which is economic. One of the primary goals of Lutheran Services of Georgia’s refugee services division is providing refugees with stable employment. Once employed, refugees add to the workforce, broaden the local tax base, and provide employers with quality workers. Refugees then use their wages to purchase local goods, which provides a further boost to the local economy.

LSG is extremely thankful that refugees can continue to find a welcome home inGeorgia, a state that has embraced the rich tradition of welcoming refugees as they rebuild their lives and meaningfully contribute to local communities. Thank you to all those who stepped up to support refugees and the services LSG provides to help them establish stable foundations for their new lives inGeorgia.

Please take a moment to write a personal email of support to the local, state, and federal elected officials who came out in support of the refugee community. Thank them for their support of refugees during this difficult episode, and along with the elected officials in your own district, let them know that you support refugee resettlement in Georgia.

Find your elected officials here:  http://www.votesmart.org/officials/NA/G

City of Clarkston: Mayor eransom@cityofclarkston.com;

City Manager kbarker@cityofclarkston.com;

City Council whadlock@cityofclarkston.com; dmoore@cityofclarkston.com; jswaney@cityofclarkston.com; awhite@cityofclarkston.com; dleonetti@cityofclarkston.com; jbrown@cityofclarkston.com;

DeKalb County: CEO and area Commissioners: ceo@dekalbcountyga.gov; kgannon@dekalbcountyga.gov; sbsutton@dekalbcountyga.gov;

State Representative Karla Drenner dren16999@aol.com State Senator Steve Henson stevehenson@mindspring.com DHS Commissioner creese@dhr.state.ga.us

Links to contact pages:

Governor Deal

Senator Isakson

Senator Chambliss

Representative Johnson