As housing wait continues, some refugees turning to Kijiji
The effort to resettle hundreds of Syrian refugees in Waterloo Region continues to move at a high speed.
More than 30 new government-sponsored refugees are expected to arrive Tuesday.
Another 40 or so arrived in the region on Sunday.
They’re being housed at a hotel on Weber Street, along with nearly 200 of their fellow Syrian citizens.
Dozens more are staying at Reception House in Kitchener or DH Lodging in St. Jacobs as the search for permanent homes continues.
Long-term homes have been found for more than 100 government-sponsored refugees this month alone.
Those still in temporary accommodations are slowly being introduced to social services in their new country.
They’re receiving vaccinations, and in some cases starting school this week – something not normally done in the Canadian refugee system until long-term homes have been acquired, but something necessitated this time due to the longer waits for that housing.
Monday morning, dozens of refugees gathered to hear from Waterloo Regional Police about the services they provide to the community, and when they should be contacted for help.
All in all, it’s plain to see why Bert Lobe calls it “not the easiest conundrum.”
As the executive director for Reception House in Kitchener, Lobe is one of the main co-ordinators of the local resettlement effort.
He says progress is being made, in part because of refugees’ eagerness to get medical vaccinations and get their children into schools.
That eagerness is also running straight into another problem – the ongoing, organized search for permanent housing.
In some cases, refugees have even taken to Kijiji to check out local rental housing options for themselves in the hopes of bypassing the system.
“In a perfect world, we’d prefer they not (use Kijiji). On the other hand, we want to respect their initiative to find a place,” Lobe said.
“It’s hard to discourage people when they’re anxious to find their own place.”