Business showed its human side
THIS is a story of how a business can bend the rules and be truly human.
My wife and I met a family of Congolese refugees a couple weeks after their landing in Winnipeg at the beginning of May. Générose arrived in Winnipeg with her mother and four young children. She had lost her husband while escaping to Uganda.
Like all refugees, she faced the challenge of finding a home, an almost impossible quest for a single African mother of four and their grandmother, with no renting and credit history and no job. Applications for decent homes under agency management were automatically declined, despite the fact that Générose is a beneficiary of the Canadian Financial Assistance program for refugees.
A benefactor offered to guarantee her application for a house in SaintBoniface managed by Mainland Commerce Real Estate on May 22 and it was accepted on May 23, for occupancy on July 1.
The family had been separated by the war and lost trace of a sister, Romaine, who had fled to South Africa. On May 25, Romaine showed up in Winnipeg, having learned by accident that her mother and sister had arrived in Canada.
Romaine had found refuge in Québec City four years ago. The family decided they should reunite in Québec where Romaine was already settled. We advised Mainland Commerce Real Estate on May 28, before the lease was signed, that Générose would not take the house and explained the circumstances. We were told initially that the deposit of $600 given with the application would not be refunded, as stipulated in the application. That was about all the money that Générose had left after purchasing the tickets for her family to move to Québec City on June 1.
We asked the staff at Mainland Commerce Real Estate to consider making an exception to the no-refund rule for Générose because of the extraordinary circumstances. And, as an act of kindness, they agreed to refund the deposit.
Générose is so grateful and agreed that this story should be told.