Permanent housing found for almost all Syrian refugees

Almost all of the 170 Syrian refugees who came to Victoria earlier this year have found homes on Vancouver Island.

Almost all of the 170 Syrian refugees who came to Victoria earlier this year have found homes on Vancouver Island, according to the Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA).

Jean McRae, executive director of the ICA, said of the 170 government-assisted refugees who came to Victoria at the end of February, 31 have been relocated to permanent homes in Duncan and 13 will be heading to Nanaimo, while the majority of the others refugees (ranging from a single person to families are as large as 11 and 13 people) have settled or will be settling into permanent housing in Greater Victoria at the end of the month.

Of the families who have settled in Greater Victoria, 23 are under the age of six, 24 are between the ages of six to 12, 20 are between the ages of 13 to 18, 55 are between the ages of 19 and 64 and three are over the age of 65.

“The ones that have moved out, they seem to be doing fairly well. It’s a huge adjustment for them. At the same time as they’re moving into a new place, they’re also having to furnish it and figure out how to get around,” McRae said, adding there are volunteers with the association to help families make the transition. “For sure it’s challenging.”

The association is, however, still looking for permanent housing for four families, one of which is looking for a wheelchair accessible place for their child. They will remain in a hotel until accommodations can be found, but McRae is optimistic they can find something soon.

“Being in a hotel long-term is tough on people. It’s getting to be a very long time now so we really want to get them into something,” she said.

Since November, more than 27,000 Syrian refugees have settled in Canada. Locally, Victoria has welcomed more than 28 privately-sponsored refugees and raised more than $1 million to help with resettlement since December.

To volunteer or to provide housing visit icavictoria.org