Refugee agencies in Vancouver will receive city funding to the tune of $181,220, it was announced at the Immigrant Services Society of BC Welcome Centre on Thursday.
“Vancouver is known throughout the world for our remarkable diversity,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement. “We have a longstanding commitment to welcoming refugees and their families in times of need.”
The funding “will help continue the work to make Vancouver a safe and welcoming city for everyone, and the city is pleased to support this important work,” he added.
The mayor was joined by representatives from Settlement Orientation Services, the Immigrant Services Society of BC, the Inland Refugee Society of BC, Kinbrace Community Society, and the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture.
“With the recent influx and growing numbers of refugee claimants crossing the US border, we are very pleased to receive additional support… to meet these increased demands,” said Mona Hassannia, Settlement Orientation Services manager.
Meanwhile, Mario Ayala, Inland Refugee Society of BC executive director, said housing is the most urgent need for refugee claimants coming into Vancouver.
“We are calling on the public to help us provide short and longer term housing,” he said. “This city funding is invaluable as we work to better coordinate the increase housing demands.”
The new City funding for refugee services includes:
- $70,220 to the Immigrant Services Society of BC and Settlement Orientation Services, including $18,000 increase for pre-settlement, first language supports;
- $66,000 to the Inland Refugee Society of BC, including $4,000 to support a housing coordinator serving newly-arrived and recently-settled refugee claimants;
- A new, $5,000 grant to Kinbrace Community Society for a program that provides refugee claimants with an orientation to the claimant process and helps prepare them for their refugee hearing;
- $40,000 to the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture to address mental health issues of refugee claimants who have experienced trauma due to torture, political violence and other forms of persecution.