VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Some government-assisted Syrian refugees who were hoping to call the Lower Mainland home are being moved to other parts of the province due to the out-of-control housing market.
Over the next week, they’ll pack everything up again and head out to places like Victoria or Nanaimo — some will travel even further to Vernon, Prince George, or Kelowna.
Chris Friesen with the Immigrant Services Society of BC says they just can’t keep up with the local housing pressures.
“The fact that we have now seen a two-fold increase in our annual target, folks are staying longer in hotels. We’ve had to go to hotels because of our insufficient capacity.”
He explains refugees are spending, on average, 30 days in a hotel. Those who have found permanent housing are living in Surrey, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Delta, Vancouver and far out as the Fraser Valley.
About 900 of the 1,500 Syrian refugees here now are still living in hotels and BC is on track to receive 3,500 government assisted refugees by the end of this year.
By the end of February, the federal government not only reached but surpassed its goal of welcoming at least 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada.