More than 40 Syrian refugees now call Kamloops home

By James Peters / Chad Harris
June 20, 2016 - 6:49pm Updated: June 21, 2016 - 12:13pm

KAMLOOPS — On this World Refugee Day, Paul Lagace of the Kamloops Immigrant Services says more than 40 Syrian refugees are still working to establish lives in the Kamloops area.

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Lagace says another two or three families are expected to arrive before the end of the fiscal year next March.

"We are fortunate in the Kamloops area that there wasn't a flood of refugees coming in, as would have happened in the larger centres, where it was a real challenge to house them and get them established temporarily, and then move them to the different communities," said Lagace. 

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Lagace says finding housing is still the number one challenge in welcoming refugees.

"The housing situation was a really challenging area for us because we had no real experience in dealing with housing needs and housing supports."

Lagace adds Kamloops Immigrant Services has received tremendous help from ASK Wellness on the housing front. 

Besides housing, issues facing refugees include English language training, and finding employment. 

"Refugees can actually go to work the minute they get to Canada; they are acknowledged as permanent residents and they can go to work. Our role is to try and just settle them into a place to live, but also to prepare them for employment," said Lagace.


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