Jewish refugee agency shutting down

Crain’s New York Business is reporting that after 60 years, the New York Association for New Americans, or NYANA, is closing its doors. Beneath dwindling budgets and difficulty competing for social services contracts lies this truth: there aren’t enough refugees anymore.

The New York Jewish Week had the full story back in June: 

“We are trying to wind it down,” said Joseph Lazar, the agency’s interim CEO. “If you don’t have the refugees coming in, you don’t have the money coming in and you don’t have a way to really function.”

NYANA, which served about 300 to 400 people last year, has seen its operating budget shrink from a onetime high of $90 million to a current $7.5 million in government grants and allocations from United Jewish Communities, the national federation umbrella.

Facing its own budget woes, UJC has slashed its contribution to NYANA from $1.2 million to what was expected to be about $500,000 in the coming year. The organization hosted a lavish dinner recently at Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel in a bid to reinvigorate support, but it netted only about $50,000, Lazar said.

Now, the agency that helped resettle an estimated 500,000 Jews  faces one last task: finding a new home for its remaining 60 employees  at other Jewish organizations, where they are expected to continue programs that aid émigrés.

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