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Northeast Ohio Marks World Refugee Day As the Region's Housing, Job Markets Help With Re-Settlement

photo of Ganesh PradhamGanesh Pradham – a refugee from Bhutan himself – now helps re-settle other refugees arriving in Northeast Ohio. On World Refugee Day, he says he’s thankful for the region’s kindness, as well as its job opportunities.

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Tomorrow is World Refugee Day, a time to reflect on the millions of families forced from their homelands. WKSU’sKabirBhatia reports on an event this past weekend that honored those who have made their new home in Northeast Ohio.

At Edgewater Beach on Saturday, dozens of area refugees celebrated coming to America. The event was sponsored by the Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland, made up of groups that help with re-settling the 500 to 700 hundred refugees who arrive in Northeast Ohio each year. Kaipng Lupanji came to the U.S. from Congo last year, first to Colorado, then moving to Cleveland because of the lower cost-of-living.

"At least I can survive. Houses are not too much cheap, not too much high, but we're OK."

The city’s wealth of housing stock is cited by the Refugee Services Collaborative as one reason this area is a good fit for refugees. Brian Upton is with Building Hope in the City and says one of the challenges facing refugees – finding work – is often easily solved in Northeast Ohio.

"We’ve got a manufacturing sector that is looking for labor solutions at the right pay level. When we introduce refugees to manufacturers who need those kind of positions, their consistent report is, ‘Can you bring more of them? They are a faithful, reliable labor source for us.’”

A recent study shows that refugees generate nearly $3 million in state and local taxes each year.  Upton says the economic impact of refugees on Northeast Ohio will be the focus of a series of short documentaries being released in September by the Refugee Services Collaborative. A similar series last year focused on the day-to-day lives of refugees.