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.