Portland nonprofit receives federal funding to house immigrant children

A Portland, Oregon-based facility, Morrison Child and Family Services, has received nearly $3.7 million in federal funding intended for use in providing unaccompanied immigrant children with housing and care. Morrison, a nonprofit that provides support for victims of traumatic events, has received this funding in installments across the 2014 fiscal year, with the most recent payout coming on July 11 and totaling $923,681, according to financial records from the Department of Health and Human Services. In total, Morrison will receive exactly $3,694,729 to aid unaccompanied immigrants in 2014.

This funding, though significant, is only the most recent in a series of grants made to Morrison by the federal government in past years. Since 2009, the family services center has received almost $16.5 million to house and provide care for these unaccompanied minors.

The funding, recently revealed through records taken from an online government database, has sparked questions from many people outside of Portland regarding the federal government’s official stance on the relocation of these children. While Morrison has refused comment, deferring questions to the Department of Health and Human Services, department spokesman Kenneth Wolfe insisted in a written statement that no strain will be put on the community as a result of this housing.

“The impact of these shelters on the local community is minimal,” wrote Wolfe. “HHS pays for and provides all services for the children through its network of grantees. This includes providing food, clothing, education and medical screening to the children. Children spend less than 30 days on average at the shelter and do not integrate into the local community.”

While the nation at large has seen staunch disagreement regarding how to best handle the immigration crisis, Portland has emerged as a leader in support for the rights of immigrant children. Last Tuesday, July 22, residents of the city even held a welcome rally to show support for immigrant children who were rumored to be arriving.