Mayor in­vites refugees to build their new lives in Chatham-Kent


Chatham-Kent says it’s will­ing to ac­cept more refugees to help ease pres­sure on Toronto where 3,300 are housed in that city’s shel­ter pro­gram.

Toronto Mayor John Tory is­sued the plea dur­ing a con­fer­ence call this week by the Large Ur­ban May­ors Cau­cus of On­tario. He asked that the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s mem­bers adopt a re­gional strat­egy and find ways to help re­lo­cate some of those refugees.

Tory said 800 refugees are tem­po­rar­ily lodged in two col­lege dor­mi­to­ries in Toronto.

In a state­ment Fri­day, Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope said the com­mu­nity has “shown the ca­pa­bil­ity and the will­ing­ness to pro­vide hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and a chance to help new­com­ers be­gin a new life.” He said com­mu­ni­ties across On­tario are look­ing at ways they can help. Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shrop­shire said mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials have been in con­tact with those in Toronto and are look­ing to as­sess in­di­vid­u­als who may be in­ter­ested in set­tling here.

“It’s not sim­ply a ques­tion of say­ing we will take X num­ber of peo­ple,” said Shrop­shire. “Ide­ally, we want to bring peo­ple here who can ob­tain em­ploy­ment, re­lo­cate and make this their new home.” No tar­get num­ber of new­com­ers has been es­tab­lished yet, he said. Many of the refugees that came to Chatham-Kent two years ago now have jobs, have cre­ated homes and are now con­tribut­ing to the com­mu­nity, said Hope.

He said that suc­cess is partly due to the spon­sors who as­sisted in re­set­tle­ment pro­grams.


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