As we are all well aware, Syrian refugees (both Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Privately Sponsored Refugees PSRs) have been welcomed in BC with open arms, including here on the South Island. Having started with placements in hotels, GAR families are being supported in finding housing, settling in, and getting their children into school. Unfortunately, there are currently as many as eleven GAR families that arrived in our region in March, but have yet to be settled into housing.
As a result, the children in these families have not been able to start school. The plight of these families is not helped by the very low housing vacancy rates on the south end of Vancouver Island. The Intercultural Association of Victoria (ICA) was appointed by the federal government to settle the city's newly arrived Government Assisted Refugees (GARs), and they are looking for our help. The ICA is asking people to share information about available rental units by completing a questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ICArefugeehousing.
These Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) are receiving the equivalent of social assistance from the government and settlement support from the ICA for 12 months. Now they need your help. Please consider completing the survey and working with community partners to get people settled and children to school as soon as possible. Thank you for considering this plea. We all look forward to having these children come to our schools with all of the support and encouragement they need to be successful.