February 06, 2016 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - They have up to 10 weeks to find 10 Syrian families a home in Kamloops, but local leaders at two separate social agencies think they can get the job done.
Executive director Paul Lagacé from Kamloops Immigrant Services says 10 government sponsored refugee families will soon settle in the city and notes the small financial support for housing won’t be sufficient for families with more than four members.
Lagacé says the government provides families with a maximum of $800 a month for rent.
“Where are you going to find anywhere in Kamloops for $800 a month?” he asks.
To help with living expenses, staff at the Ask Wellness Society stepped up to work with landlords on decreasing rent and hope local corporations can help provide a small subsidy.
The two groups are looking for two or three bedroom homes at a cost of $1,400. With the government subsidy, a decrease in rent and a local contribution, Lagacé says the budget will be tight, but possible.
Some of the families may be larger; up to seven members, he says.
“At least they’ll get a place to stay that’s reasonably affordable,” he says. The sponsorship will last for a year until the refugees are self-reliant. Lagacé says two brothers who arrived in the city last week are already looking for work.
“Two of them can hardly speak English but they want to work,” he says. “They don’t want handouts; they want to support themselves. They’re very dedicated to becoming independent and becoming positive members of the community."
Lagacé adds many of those fleeing Syria are leaving careers and family members behind.
“Many of them had careers before they had refugee status. They’re running away from everything they had,” he says.
Ask Wellness will manage housing requirements and Immigrant Services will assist with settlement procedures.
If you wish to contribute to the housing needs, contact Lagacé at 778-470-6101 or Bob Hughes at Ask Wellness at 250-376-7558.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016