Busi­ness showed its hu­man side

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - THE SOCIAL PAGE -

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.

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