New funding to help refugees arriving in Kamloops

August 7, 2019

By Kamloops This Week |

Another Syrian refugee family will resettle in Kamloops thanks to the Refugees and Friends Together (RAFT) program.

RAFT, which sponsors refugees through the Kamloops United Church, expects the family of four to arrive this fall and is looking for more volunteers to help support the quartet — something the group finds harder to secure than funding.

Members of the group nonetheless were at a public meeting at Kamloops Immigrant Services on Wednesday to hear about new funding from the University of Ottawa’s The Refugee Hub, which is encouraging local residents and workplace-based groups to access its fund to sponsor UNHCR-referred refugees.

Kamloops is one of several B.C. communities being visited this week to promote the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) fund.

The fund helps cover the first year of the refugees’ living expenses groups like RAFT are responsible for providing — half coming from government and the other half available through the university’s fund, said Refugee Hub director of innovation and development,Tara Templin.

This year groups are being offered an extra $5,000 per case, up to $50,000, to cover administrative costs in addition to the funding available for the sponsorship costs, Templin said.

The additional money can help RAFT stretch its funds further, said RAFT committee volunteer Martha Asbaugh.

“We can do more and help more families in the long run with the Refugee Hub’s assistance,” she said.

Templin said the Refugee Hub wants to be able to resettle the 1,650 refugees who are waiting to come to Canada this year.

The Refugee Hub dolled out $3.5 million to 152 groups to cover refugee resettling expenses in 2018.

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