Refugee Economic Impact Study, Lewiston, Maine 6/2010

Compiled by Catherine Besteman and Ismail Ahmed1
Summary: Because of the proliferation of rumors in Lewiston about the economic impact of refugees on the city, we have compiled economic data to assess this impact. This report shows municipal, state, and federal welfare support provided to lawfully admitted noncitizen residents and pending asylees as a percentage of total welfare payments for Lewiston/Auburn since 2001 (GA) and for Lewiston/Auburn and Androscoggin County since 2007 (TANF, FSP). In brief, the percentage of General Assistance Funds going to refugees/asylees since 2001 has dropped from 53% to 18%. The percentage of TANF going to lawfully admitted noncitizen residents in L/A dropped from 8.4% in 2/2007 to 6.7% in 2/2010. The percentage of Food Supplement going to lawfully admitted noncitizen residents in L/A dropped from 4.5% in 2/2007 to 2.8% in 2010. This reduction in benefits going to lawfully admitted noncitizen residents over the past several years suggests both that they are becoming citizens and that smaller numbers are receiving welfare support. The data also show a minimum accounting of grant funding that has come into the state and Lewiston from federal, private, and nonprofit sources because of the presence of refugees. Most of this funding goes to city agencies, nonprofits, hospitals, and schools to support projects, programs, and services that target refugees. The data indicate that at least $9,151,714 has flowed into Lewiston during 2/2001-5/2010 because of the refugee demographic. The data suggest that increased federal and private funds coming into L/A because of the presence of refugees has more than offset the costs incurred by Lewiston/Auburn in support of the New Mainer population. In other words, to date the refugee demographic has been economically beneficial to the Lewiston/Auburn area. Disclaimer: We have tried hard to be thorough and accurate. Please inform us immediately if you encounter an error. Note that this report does NOT include all funding that has come into Lewiston for refugee services, support and research. It only includes information from those organizations, offices and people who shared their funding information with us. It also does NOT include grants for broader populations that included refugees but were not targeted for refugees. Author’s note: Catherine Besteman is Professor of Anthropology at Colby College ( Ismail Ahmed is Director STTAR Consultancy Services (Support, Training, Technical Assistance, and Resources) and social commentator on integration and educational issues (



General Assistance, City of Lewiston, Department of Social Services3 The city of Lewiston is reimbursed by the state for 50% of the General Assistance Budget. (For part of May and June 2010 the state reimbursed 90% of the General Assistance budget.) The rest comes from local taxes. year 7/01-6/02 7/02-6/03 7/03-6/04 7/04-6/05 7/05-6/06 7/06-6/07 7/07-6/08 7/08-6/09 7/09-2/10 % of budget spent on refugees 52.59 39.51 34.63 32.94 32.08 23.54 16.90 15.76 18.244

TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)5 TANF funds are provided by US Department of Health and Human Services and administered by the State. % of TANF spent on lawfully admitted noncitizen residents, Androscoggin County 2/2007 2/2008 2/2009 2/2010 6.9 6 5.4 5.3 % of TANF spent on lawfully admitted noncitizen residents, L/A 8.4 7.7 6.8 6.7

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program)6 Funds are provided by US Department of Agriculture and administered by the State. % of food supplement going to lawfully admitted noncitizen residents, Androscoggin County 2/2007 2/2008 2.2009 2/2010 3.3 2.8 2.2 2 % of food supplement going to lawfully admitted noncitizen residents, L/A 4.5 3.8 3.0 2.8

2. FEDERAL DHHS/ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) Block and Discretionary Grants to Maine for Refugee support, by year, not including Refugee School Impact Grants7 The federal ORR funds included here have gone to the State of Maine DHHS, Maine Center for Disease Control, City of Portland, City of Lewiston, Catholic Charities, Lewiston Adult Education, CEI (Coastal Enterprises Inc.), and in some years to United Somali Women of Maine and Center for Preventing Hate.8 2001: 462,307 2002: 571,136 2003: 1,370,636 2004: 1,123,921 2005: 1,377,327 2006: 1,314,779 2007: 1,650,475 2008: 1,867,183 2009: 1,995,044 2010 (as of 5/2010): 1,285,000 TOTAL: 13,017,808, split between Portland and Lewiston, 2001-5/2010 3. ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDING FOR LEWISTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR REFUGEE/ELL SUPPORT9 (in dollars) Title III 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 TOTAL 38122 18699 24731 57150 45729 127,968 120,692 433091 Immigrant Grant 37023 [17426 (Auburn)] 20327 24739 20336 18675 33487 16478 171065 Refugee Children Impact Grant 34185 14272 15314 27750 27750 27750 27750 27750 202,521

Title III funds are from US Department of Education. Immigrant Grant Funds are from US Department of Education and are given to the district with a significant increase of immigrants. Only one district per state receives these funds each year. Auburn received these funds in 2003/04. Refugee Children Impact Grant funds are from USDHS.

4. FUNDING FROM OTHER FEDERAL SOURCES10 - $333,000, Federal Earmark for New Mainers Refugee Workforce Development, 2009 - $425,000, Department of Justice, for COPS grant and C4CY grant - $293,658, Department of Agriculture (for projects with refugees funded by Empower Lewiston, Healthy Androscoggin, and via Lewiston Adult Ed) - $10,000, U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Administration for Children and Families, Coastal Enterprises, Inc. TDL JOLI Project component for work training for limited English refugees, 2009 TOTAL: $1,051,658 5. GRANTS FROM OTHER SOURCES (NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, AREA COLLEGES and BUSINESSES) 11 - $366,275 from private and nonprofit sources received by schools, researchers and ethnic organizations for research, mentoring, literacy, and community work - $408,200 obtained by local health providers/projects for work with refugee community (St Mary’s, CMMC, CCS, THRIVE) TOTAL: $774,475 We give enormous thanks to all who provided the information contained here. The federal figures are publicly available through federal and state agencies and are reasonably accurate. Other figures are provided by grant recipients and many are estimates. These figures are meant to be illustrative rather than precise. 2 This study does not include HUD/LHA/ROSS funds. 3 Data provided by Sue Charron, Director of Social Services, City of Lewiston 4 Sue Charron reports that the increase this year (2010) is largely due to the increase in the number of asylum seekers in Lewiston, who are not eligible for federal support. 5 Data provided by DHHS. 6 Data provided by DHHS. 7 Data compiled from US Department of Health and Human Services, Maine State Refugee Coordinator, and City of Lewiston. The ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) grants include the following categories of funding: Recent Arrivals, Unanticipated Arrivals, TAG (Targeted Assistance Formula Grant), Refugee Cash and Medical Assistance, Refugee Social Services, Refugee Preventative Health, Refugee Senior Services, Services to Older Refugees, Ethnic Self Help Grant, Individual Development Accounts Grant, and other discretionary grants. 8 The breakdown of funds is available through the federal DHS website. 9 Data from Maine Department of Education. Essential Programs and Services funds for ELL services are not included here. 10 Data collected through voluntary reporting by grant recipients. Information is still pending from a number of local organizations that have received grant funds for their work with refugees. 11 This figure only includes those willing to provide information about their grants and is thus is most certainly an underestimate.

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