B.C. officials are better prepared for next intake of 1,500 Syrian refugees

August 29, 2016

By Simon Little, CKNW News |

With a second wave of Syrian refugees due to arrive next month, officials say they’ve learned from experience.

Chris Friesen with the Immigrant Services Society of BC says the province will see about 1,500 new refugees between September and December, most destined for Metro Vancouver.

And with more time to gear up, better orientation materials, planned activities for kids and a specialized team — Friesen says they’re well-prepared.

But with the housing crunch, they’ve made a request to Ottawa.

“If there’s going to be a large number of families of six or more family members, that it is in our advantage or benefit that they be redirected or re-destined elsewhere in to other parts of the country.”
He says housing was a key challenge when the first wave of refugees was taken in.

“We received almost as many large sized families as we did in the previous six year period, but only on a matter of eight weeks.”

Friesen says staff are now better trained and have established networks in the region to help with settlement.

He says they’re hoping to keep temporary housing to two to three weeks, but it wont be easy with low vacancy rates and limited social assistance.

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