Syrian refugees in the Maritimes continue to seek affordable housing
Finding a new homeland is proving easier than finding a new home for many of the thousands of Syrian refugees who have arrived in Canada.
Some refugees are living in hotels for days and weeks on end because there are no appropriate homes available for them.
Qassim Albardan and his family arrived in Fredericton last month and haven’t been able to find a permanent home.
“They haven’t found the right house yet, it's a little bit difficult for them for now," said translator Mouhawej Charbel for Albardan.
He and his wife have five children and not enough room. They're biding their time, waiting for a home that will fit their family and an address they can use to register their children for school.
One hundred refugees are staying at a resort just outside Fredericton while they too wait for housing. Another 150 are expected to join them over the next few days. Other hotels are on standby in case they are needed, but permanent housing is preferable.
"I think it's a concern,” said Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside. “What I’m hoping is not only will there be affordable housing for those immigrating from other countries, but also they'll look at affordable housing for all people."
Mayor Woodside says the ongoing effort to welcome newcomers has put the need for affordable housing "on the front burner."
"We have a housing crisis in this country with affordable housing for people, not just immigrants, but people who live here," he said.
Woodside says Immigration Minister John MacCullum has acknowledged Fredericton has accepted more refugees per capita than any other community in the country.
"With some of the larger families, families that are seven or eight, it's taking a little bit longer,” said Woodside. “But again, we trust that there's going to be more opportunities coming up."
Waitlists for affordable housing in the region, as well as for refugees, are long. In New Brunswick, 5,900 households are waiting for an affordable home, while it's just over 4,000 in Nova Scotia.
The Multicultural Association says anyone with a property willing to help should give them a call.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.