Despite having a long way to go with fundraising, the Terrace Sponsors Refugee Families group is moving forward with a positive attitude that is unwavering.
There are four groups now who are looking to bring in a family each, which could be a single person of the age of 18 who is not included in the definition of family but who might be travelling with family and looking to stay with relatives in a new location.
Two are Groups of 5, the government’s name for private sponsors of refugee families, the third is the Terrace Christian Reformed Church and the other is another church group, who is just getting organized and prefers not to be named yet, said Sasa Loggin, who speaks for the group.
The refugee families who are brought here to live may be Iraqi too.
“Syrian and Iraqi refugees come from the same conflict – in government documents, they are often linked together – so yes, different country but the same priority,” said Loggin.
“The focus is still on Syria but the groups are not opposed if the government would have other vulnerable refugee families which need help.”
As of Feb. 24, more than $11,000 has been raised, she said.
About $27,000 is the amount needed for a year for a family of four, which includes any in-kind donations such as housing, furniture, food and other things, she said, adding the groups are doing their own fundraising and putting in their own money in addition to community fundraising.
Each group has to have an account and show that they have some of the money but don’t have to have all of the money yet, said Loggin.
Three of the four groups here are in the BlendedVisa program, which means they only have to cover half of the costs while the federal government covers the other half.
The groups are waiting for a new list of families to choose from and while waiting, each group is working on securing housing and working on the settlement plans, Loggin said.
“Housing is tricky as there is no clear date for arrival of families so it’s hard to secure accommodation not knowing what the start date is,” she said, adding that if anyone is willing to help, it would be very much appreciated.
A new list of potential refugee families to choose from is expected this month, said Loggin. The first Group of 5 had received two lists of 100 families in January, picked 4 or 5 families and sent it back within a few hours but because it is a list that goes out to the whole country, they were not successful, she said.
These groups became part of the Blended program by submitting an application and being accepted.
Lists of names are not going out to the public but only to the groups on that accepted list, she said.
“My observation – it would be wonderful to assign families from the government-sponsored stream to the blended program, as we hear of so many of them stuck in temporary accommodations and here we have groups eager and ready to get their families,” said Loggin.