For the first time in its three-year history, the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Refugee Resettlement will count all refugees, not just Cubans and Indochinese, when calculating the amount of service assistance grants to the states. That's the good news. The bad news: many of the states that hoped to fare better in the new count--which includes such groups as Soviet Jews, Poles, Afghanis and Ethiopians--will still be getting smaller grants.
Linda M. Fanfan, coordinator of the District's Office of Refugee Resettlement, had asked HHS for a new formula for fiscal 1983 including the city's 350 Ethiopian refugees. Ruth W. Massinga, executive director of Maryland's Social Services Administration, said her state has resettled thousands of refugees from Europe, Africa and the Middle East who weren't ever counted.
The reason the District, Maryland and some other jurisditions lost out is that newly counted refugee groups are concentrated primarily in New York, California, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland. Those areas will get a bigger share of the $59.2 million pot, while other jurisdictions get a smaller share. The amount of funds available increased by $1.2 million, but the number of refugees counted rose to about 460,000, an increase of 53,000. So for each refugee, a jurisdiction will get $128, down from $142 last year.
Even before the new count, the District's share has dropped from $610,500 in fiscal 1981 to $355,000 in fiscal 1982 while Maryland's share declined from $1.44 million in fiscal 1981 to $755,000 in fiscal 1982. Both states, said Linda Gordon, chief data analyst for the federal refugee resettlement office, will probably receive less in fiscal 1983. Virginia's figures have been more stable -- $1,446,895 in fiscal 1982 and $1,482,700 in fiscal 1981.