Meet the man who’s helping the most vulnerable refugees

May 2, 2016

By Burnaby Now |

One refugee advocate wants to change the way the public and the media view asylum seekers living in Metro Vancouver.

The NOW’s Tanya Commisso spoke with James Grunau, executive director of refugee assistance group Journey Home Community Association, following a speech he gave to the Rotary Club of Vancouver, entitled So What Can A Refugee Contribute?

Journey Home Community Association began life in late 2005 as a small operation with a low budget, funded mostly by the donations of a few volunteers and a board of three people.

In those first days, the group’s website notes it was helping a handful of refugee families. Now, it has expanded its vision to help meet the needs of hundreds of refugees who claim asylum in this part of Canada each year.

The group helps about 12 to 16 new families per year with transitional housing, finding them apartments in Burnaby and New Westminster, and has supported more than 40 more families with resettlement assistance and their move to more permanent housing.

It also has numerous volunteer teams who work alongside families to offer them support in their journeys.

For more on the organization and its work, see

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