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refugee center

Budget pain compounds for agencies helping immigrants, refugees

By Jay Lee/For CU-CitizenAcccess - Champaign County’s immigration-service agencies may have to bear some of the burden for the state’s burgeoning debt – and they aren’t happy about it.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Anh Ha Ho, left, and Deborah Hlavna, co-directors of the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center, discuss a problem Ho encountered Thursday morning helping a client.

Vietnamese immigrant now aids newcomers

By Jay Lee/For CU-CitizenAccess - Anh Ha Ho’s office walls are covered with photographs from all over the world.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Anh Ha Ho, co-director of the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center, goes over a client's paperwork on Thursday.

Refugee Center faces budget cuts

By Julie Wurth/ News-Gazette/URBANA -- About 2,600 people each year call on Anh Ha Ho and her colleagues with questions about schools, taxes, housing, jobs, medical care you name it. And most of them don't speak much English.

The East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center functions as a mini-social services agency, helping immigrants and refugees adjust to life in Champaign County.

Housed in a small office inside the Unitarian Universalist Church, 302 S. Birch St., U, the nonprofit charity has seen its client base grow almost every year since its founding in 1982.

File photo/News-Gazette/Guadalupe Abreu, a bilingual counselor at the refugee center, helps Sonia Casco fill out an application to extend her status as a temporary resident. Her son, Tito Casco, 3, plays nearby in June 2010.

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