Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Utica: The Town That Loves Refugees

A recent article in Refugee Magazine (download it here as a pdf) touts Utica as the "Town That Loves Refugees". Refugee magazine is published through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, a Zogby Analytics study looked into how Utica has become synonymous with welcoming foreign-born populations that have streamed into the city. It also suggests that the attraction of refugees is a situation that is unique to the region. The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties Inc. funded the $50,000 study. About $30,000 went toward conducting the study, with the rest of the money going toward efforts and recommended improvements cited in the study.

Here are several of the main findings in a Zogby Analytics study about why Utica is such a welcoming city for new populations:
  • The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees, though not the sole organization that caters to immigrants and refugees, is prominent in the community as the main resource for those populations.
  • The area’s history of assimilating other immigrant groups, such as the Irish and Italians, provide a base for welcoming new immigrant populations.
  • Though the Refugee Center has relationships with several area agencies that serve refugees, better communication and collaboration among those serving this population was cited as a need..
  • Local places of worship have embraced much of the refugee community, offering them spiritual guidance as they settle into the area.
To see where our refugee populations are coming from, you might want to look at the table on this previous post about refugees in Utica.