Halifax property managers offering free accommodations for Syrian refugees
Published Monday, January 4, 2016 8:01PM AST
Last Updated Monday, January 4, 2016 8:03PM AST
Several landlords in the Halifax area have offered Syrian refugees a year of free accommodation, courtesy of seven major developers and property managers.
"Instead of having underutilized buildings, we can fill them,” said Labi Kousoulis, MLA for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island. “Fill this city up and fill this province up."
The Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia will be in charge of distributing the apartments, along with other things as needed.
With about 100 refugees settling in and around the province, the free housing will be appreciated, but there’s also been word of some newcomers feeling frustrated.
Gerry Mills of the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia says that’s not surprising, given their circumstances.
"People have left their home. People have to have time to grieve," she said.
Mills says the association is deeply touched by the generosity put forth by strangers.
Former refugee Wadih Fares, who’s become one of Nova Scotia’s most successful businessmen, says no amount of aid can fill the void of leaving friends and family behind.
“It's very important to feel the support and the warmth, because, as it is, it's not easy ... you wouldn't know how hard it is unless you go through it,” said Fares. “I can assure them that they'll be happier, but it will take some time.”
More Syrian refugees are expected this week, with the pace accelerating in the weeks ahead.
Officials say there are still several things Maritimers can do to help, including learning basic Arabic phrases and giving refugees space and time to adjust.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.
The Al Habash family arrives at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Dec. 16, 2015.