Ray of Hope’s new refugee house got a warm welcome in Waterloo on Saturday.

Neighbours, dignitaries and members of the community gathered for the grand opening on Allen Street. After the ribbon was cut there was a barbecue and tour of the home.

The property was purchased by Ray of Hope as a place for refugees to stay while they get settled in the community.

The 2-storey home can accommodate 13 to 30 refugees, with ten single rooms and a three bedroom unit for a family.

“They live here for up to a year and especially for single people, it gives them a chance to get some English language, if they have no English language skills, to get established in the community,” says Ray of Hope CEO Harry Whyte.

Ray of Hope used to place new refugees in apartments over the Morning Glory Café in downtown Kitchener. Those apartments are now used as a place for the city’s homeless.

The organization purchased the Allen Street property and spent the last several months renovating the house for the refugees.

“This had kind of been culminating,” says Whyte. “Two years of a lot of discussions in the community, a lot of volunteers that have come together to talk about the needs of refugees and finding a place where we could start up again.”

The new refugees moved in after the grand opening celebration.