Syrian refugee crisis: co-ops want to help: UPDATE

Update January 29, 2016:

Collingwood Neighbourhood House (CNH) in the Renfrew-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver has contacted CHF BC to let us know that it is working with a group of Syrian refugee families currently housed in a local motel and looking for permanent housing in the community. If your co-op is located in this neighbourhood – or nearby – and can offer housing, or even provide urgently needed meeting space to support CNH in its work helping these families, please contact Marcela Mancilla-Fuller, Settlement Coordinator, at 604-435-0323 x229 or mmancilla-fuller@cnh.bc.ca.

The Syrian refugee crisis is the greatest humanitarian disaster in recent international memory, and housing co-ops here in BC and all across Canada are asking what they can do to help.

We can expect up to 2,500 government-assisted refugees to arrive in British Columbia by March.  While there are systems in place to offer immediate assistance when they arrive, affordable long-term housing is in short supply and is now the most urgent need.

Co-ops and co-op members can help in many different ways.  For more information on this crisis, including what you can do, visit the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC).
 
And if you are a Vancity member, check out their information on supporting refugees.
 
Refugees are eligible for housing assistance equivalent to the BC Social Assistance Shelter Allowances for one year:

  • $375 for an individual
  • $570 for a couple
  • $700 for a couple and two children under 19
  • $660 for a single parent with two children under 19
  • $785 for a couple and four children under 19
  • $750 for a single parent and four children under 19

 Co-ops considering offering housing may face some issues to resolve:

  • will a refugee family live in the co-op as members or fixed-term tenants?
  • how will the co-op deal with damage deposit or share purchase requirements?
  • when will vacant rooms or units be available to receive a refugee family?

CHF BC can help by providing more information on these questions as we learn more. In the meantime, if you have space to share or housing to offer a Syrian refugee family or individual, contact ISSofBC directly to discuss what might be possible.