Homes needed for refugees

Catholic Social Services is urging residents to open their doors to Syrian refugees.

Catholic Social Services is urging residents to open their doors to Syrian refugees.

The agency tasked with settling the government-sponsored refugees in Red Deer and Edmonton is seeking volunteers and accommodations.

Some 200 will arrive in Red Deer for a new start by year’s end and some 1,500 in Edmonton. The federal government will release the detailed plan to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees across Canada today.tuesday

Jason Gariepy, Catholic Social Services spokesperson, said the agency has been in similar situations with groups fleeing their home countries because of war including the Hungarians in the 1950s, the Chileans in 1973 and the Vietnamese in the 1980s.

“Every decade it seems there is a refugee crisis of some sorts,” said Gariepy. “Catholic Social Services has always been able to manage that need. This is going to present some interesting challenges but we are very confident that we are going to be able to accommodate the people that are coming.”

But Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen is concerned about the pressure the sudden influx of people will have on local agencies.

“There are a lot of other things that are required as well,” said Dreeshen. “You have to find schools. You have to find health care. You have to find all the other types of services. The community has to be ready in that way as well. The housing aspect of it is uptmost on everybody’s mind. Until the plan comes out, there’s still going to be nervousness associated with it.”

The housing application form has been on the organization’s website for about a week. Gariepy said he did not have concrete numbers but there has been strong support. He added it is difficult to say how much housing is needed because the agency does not have the specific number of refugees are coming.

“We know there are more opportunities today then there were a year or two years ago,” said Gariepy. “We are just working hard to identify all the options so we can get the best fit. Not just finding housing but housing that best matches the need.”

Gariepy said people can help the refugees, not just the Syrians, in other ways through its homework and cultural link programs. He said volunteers do not necessarily have to have a second language. He said they will match talent to an opportunity.

The agency will help them become acclimatized to not only the weather but the Canadian culture and the basics such as finding the grocery stores and using the telephone system.

Gariepy said this is something the agency does throughout the year because there is always a refugee in need.

“All of those elements of learning about Canadian culture and everyday things that most of us take for granted,” said Gariepy. “We work very closely with these families in those first 14 days to make sure they are on on their way of becoming settled. After the 14 days they move on and we continue to advocate for them. Hopefully by that time they have some supports in place. They can start properly integrating themselves into the community.”

People who are interested in volunteering or renting out a space can fill out a form on their website at www.catholicsocialservices.ab.ca. You can also call the Syrian refugee volunteer line at 780-391-3338.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

According to the city, trees are the main solution to improving urban canopy cover in downtown areas.
Tree care focus of free webinar

Red Deer and Lacombe Counties hosting March 11 webinar

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Most Read