A Metro Vancouver immigrant services group says a full year after arriving, many Syrian refugees in Surrey are struggling.
More government-sponsored Syrian refugees call Surrey home than any other B.C. municipality.
Queenie Choo, CEO of SUCCESS BC, says it’s no surprise housing and language skills top the list of challenges.
But she says those core problems create other headaches.
“That really presents itself some barriers for employment,” she says.
Choo says finding work isn’t the only spin off problem the language issue is causing.
“[It creates] barriers for the daily access to the news, or communication in terms of housing or accessing health. Some of them also have a disability.”
The issues came up in a presentation by SUCCESS to Surrey’s Diversity Advisory Committee at a Council meeting this week.
Choo says a second meeting will take place in the future to discuss solutions.
Settlement officials have conceded that finding stable housing for the first wave of Syrians has been its biggest challenge, with Metro Vancouver’s nation-leading housing costs.
Some of those first refugees settled spent upwards of a month in hotels.
The province is now in the process of receiving a second wave of government assisted Syrian refugees, with 1,500 expected by the end of December, 1,200 of them in the Lower Mainland.