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How Ward 2 residents are helping Syrian Refugees

syrian meetingA number of residents groups, churches and individuals in Ward 2 are stepping up to assist with bringing Syrian refugees to Burlington, including sponsoring families. Want to get involved? Contact one of the groups below to find out what they are doing and how you can help.

Are you sponsoring a refugee family and seeking community members to assist? Let me know and I’ll spread the word in my newsletter. Please do what you can to help!

St. Luke’s Anglican Church

St. Luke’s Anglican Church in downtown Burlington is sponsoring a refugee family to come in 2016. We would like to engage the wider downtown community to help. We need to raise funds and will eventually need clothing and furniture and a place to house the family. There will be an ongoing need to make this family feel welcome and part of the community. They will need to find jobs. If you can help in any way, please contact the Rector, Rev. Stuart Pike at pikes123@sympatico.ca Together, we can make a difference!

Maple Refugee Assistance
The Maple Refugee Assistance group is comprised of about 20 people who all want to help who live in the Maple/Stephenson area. Their  sponsorship is being facilitated by Wesley Urban Ministries in Hamilton under the Private Sponsorship Program. Together the members will sponsor a Syrian family, provide them with accommodation, household necessities, and food for a year. The group will also help them find translation services, classes in English as a second language, and a friendly welcome in Burlington. The Chair of Maple Refugee Assistance is David Goodings (dgoodings@cogeco.ca). We welcome to anyone interested in helping.

Canadian Federation of University Women

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW Burlington) is sponsoring a refugee family. The group completed and submitted the application in early December after fundraising since October. Several of the steering committee are Ward 2 residents so the president contacted me to spread the word. There will be more information shortly, and the family will probably arrive some time in January. For information contact Anne Marie Christian, President, CFUW Burlington, president@cfuwburlington.ca or visit the organization’s website at cfuwburlington.ca

Additional resources

All four levels of government (federal, provincial, regional and municipal) have also established dedicated web pages with resources for people interested in getting involved in assisting Syrian refugees. Click the links below:

Federal: Welcome Refugees
Provincial: Syrian Refugees
Halton Region: Halton Newcomer Portal
City of Burlington: Welcome Syria

Additional resources: Lifeline Syria

Background:

According to a memo distributed by Halton Region, there are five refugee families being privately sponsored in Burlington so far, and seven in Oakville. Another 11 are currently in progress in Halton Region and a further 20 local sponsorships are under review. The federal government is aiming to bring in 50,000 Syrian refugees through a combination of these private sponsors and government sponsors in 2016.

In Ontario, Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) will be resettled in one of six Refugee Resettlement Assistance Program communities (Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor). The RRAP communities across Canada will receive approximately 2,000 refugees by the end of the year.

The Halton Multicultural Council is the lead settlement agency in Halton funded by the federal government to assist newcomers with settlement, language, employment supports, mentoring and counselling needs. According to HMC, approximately 100 refugees are welcomed to Halton on an annual basis.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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