ST. LOUIS (May 4, 2018) - The International Institute of St. Louis, the St. Louis region's Welcoming Center for New Americans, today announced the creation of the Missouri Office of Refugee Administration (MO-ORA).
Housed on the Institute headquarters campus at 3401 Arsenal St., MO-ORA will provide oversight for many Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-funded programs in the State of Missouri. ORR is part of the Administration for Children and Families/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Such ORR-funded services were formerly housed in Missouri's Department of Social Services (MO DSS).
"Several months ago, MO DSS notified ORR of its intention to withdraw as administrator of ORR-funded refugee services," said International Institute of St. Louis President & CEO Anna E. Crosslin. "ORR assessed private sector management strength and elected to transfer Missouri refugee program administration to the International Institute."
Since the refugee resettlement program's inception in 1980, privatization of refugee programs has occurred in more than a dozen U.S. states.
MO-ORA will administer the Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) program, as well as state Refugee Social Services, including Refugee School Impact and Services for Older Refugee set-asides. MO-ORA will provide administrative oversight to four refugee service providers serving newly-arrived refugees throughout Missouri: Jewish Vocational Services and Della Lamb in Kansas City; Refugee and Immigration Services in Jefferson City/Columbia; and the International Institute in St. Louis and Springfield. MO-ORA will also coordinate with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the agency selected by ORR to administer Refugee Medical Assistance and Refugee Medical Screenings, to ensure that refugees are provided medical services for which they are eligible.
International Institute of St. Louis Vice President for Program Administration Paul Costigan will also serve as Missouri Refugee Coordinator. Linda Haus, who served as Assistant Refugee Coordinator for MO DSS until her retirement last year, has stepped in to provide transition services at the International Institute of St. Louis as Interim Assistant Refugee Coordinator.
"We are honored to have been selected to fill this important role," Crosslin said. "Also, we are grateful for the assistance of other State Refugee Coordinators, ORR and MO DSS employees who have been working with us to ensure a smooth transition for newcomer refugees."