The Fraser Valley Refugee Readiness Team (FVRRT) is hosting a community information session on Tuesday, April 25th for anyone who wants to learn more about renting to refugees and displaced Ukrainians.
Speakers will share the benefits and logistics of renting to newcomers and a refugee will share their experience in finding housing in Abbotsford. A panel representing a variety of non-profit organizations and the City of Abbotsford will be able to answer questions from attendees.
“This session will help raise awareness of the need for rental properties and also reassure landlords that newcomers make excellent tenants. Refugees have gone through rigorous background checks before being allowed to come to Canada,” said Kim Reddicopp, an Archway Refugee Integration Liaison.
“Securing affordable and accessible housing is one of the biggest challenges for newcomers,” said Reddicopp. “While all tenants are facing a shortage of rental properties and increasing prices newcomers face additional barriers that exacerbate the issue.”
Some of these challenges are a lack of prior rental references and credit history in Canada, which can stop newcomers from being considered by some landlords.
“These barriers are out of the newcomer’s control, so we try to work with landlords to consider other factors and make exceptions,” said Touseef Amir, an Archway Housing Coordinator.
“Housing is a crucial step in the integration process. Once they are settled into long-term housing, they can enroll their children in a nearby school and find stable employment,” said Reddicopp.
Government assisted refugees receive some funding towards housing for up to a year and may receive other benefits like the child tax credit. Privately sponsored refugees receive up to a year of guaranteed support from their sponsor.
“Despite all the challenges facing them, refugees are remarkably resilient and find ways to contribute to their community,” said Donna Lo, Archway Manager of Pathways to Integration.
The Fraser Valley Refugee Readiness Team is a collective of local organizations that assist refugees and displaced Ukrainians. They work together to enhance and coordinate community support at a regional level ensuring that communities are ready to welcome, respond to the needs of, and leverage the strengths and contribution of newcomers. The group concentrates on the areas of housing, healthcare, employment and coordination of information.
While not creating new services, FVRRT members in Abbotsford help support local service providers and coordinate information as newcomers search for housing, employment and other supports. There are 14 FVRRT partners including Archway Community Services, the Abbotsford Local Immigration Partnership, Abbotsford School District, Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the Inasmuch Community Society.
The free event will be held April 25th from 7:00 pm -8:30 pm at Archway Community Services (2420 Montrose Avenue).