ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Monday, Assemblymember Jon Rivera and Senator Sean Ryan announced that funding for the New York State Enhanced Services to Refugees Program had “overwhelming support” in both Legislative houses. As part of the 2021 state budget, the Assembly approved $3 million in funding. The next steps for the approval process are pending.
The Enhanced Services to Refugees Program provides services so that refugees can successfully integrate into local communities. The program began in 2017 in response to the federal government’s pull back on refugee resettlement support.
Rivera and Ryan say refugees and immigrants have been instrumental in reversing the population decline in cities like Buffalo. Over 90% settle in Upstate New York, which makes the Program “vital” to the region.
Three local agencies provide the enhanced services through this program: NYS Department of Health – Albany Region, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants – Albany, and Unity House of Troy, Inc.
“By securing enhanced funding for refugee resettlement agencies, the New York State Senate and Assembly have affirmed how important refugees are to the cultural and economic fabric of our state. Refugees stem population losses in Upstate New York communities and contribute to economic growth by opening small businesses and employing local workers. They contribute to the tax base and represent enormous spending power. When the previous President took office, he began drastically cutting refugee admissions, threatening the economic progress of cities across Upstate New York. President Biden made a commitment to restore the resettlement infrastructure both at home and abroad and this funding has and will continue to ensure that New York is a leader of refugee resettlement.”Senator Sean Ryan
Budget negotiations will take place over the next two weeks. The state budget is due April 1.