The second wave of government sponsored Syrian refugees are slowly trickling into B.C.
30 have arrived since September.
Chris Friesen with Immigrant Services Society says 1,500 government sponsored refugees will resettle in B.C. by the end of December, 1,200 of them in the Lower Mainland. Around 400 more privately sponsored refugees are also expected.
“It really takes off later this month.”
But when it comes to challenges to settling the next wave, Friesen admits the society is placed in the same box as other locals: High rents and low vacancy rates.
“We’ve set an ambitious service goal of three weeks from the point of arrival and into permanent housing. In reality a lot of variables will play into whether or not we reach that. We are seeing smaller sized families which we had raised issues with during the first phase.”
Housing issues were the agency’s biggest challenge as it sought to place some 1,700 government sponsored Syrian refugees that arrived in the first wave, B.C.’s share of the 25,000 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pledged to take in within months of taking office.
Earlier this year CKNW reported up to 10 families were housed in a Richmond hotel for more than a month because of difficulty finding permanent housing.
In a previous interview Friesen said the ISS was hoping to avoid that problem this time around by asking Ottawa to limit the size of families it sends to B.C.
Friesen says there are four temporary sites in Vancouver to house refugees for this next phase, including its newly finished Welcome Centre in East Vancouver.