Refugee family could arrive by spring

Public meeting Dec. 7
Section: 
News

By Eric Howald

 

A committee formed to bring a refugee family to Kincardine is getting strong support from the community.

 

 

Rev. Kathy Fraser of Knox Presbyterian Church.

 

 

Rev. Kathy Fraser of Knox Presbyterian Church said Friday that a few people in the church, spurred on by the Syrian refugee crisis, started talking about sponsoring a refugee family.

 

“From there, it has just mushroomed,” she said.

 

At a recent ministerial meeting, the question was raised: Is anyone doing anything about refugees?

 

“Yes, we are,” Fraser replied and a steering committee was quickly set up.

 

Joining Knox on the committee are representatives of Kincardine United Church, Pine River United Church and St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church. The Kincardine Baptist and Harbour Churches have also expressed an interest.

 

Since the committee was formed, “individuals have been coming out of the woodwork with offers of support,” said Fraser. “There has already been an offer of accommodation.”

 

A refugee family will be brought to Kincardine under the Blended Visa Office Referral Refugee Program. The federal government has already approved the Presbyterian Church of Canada for this program.

 

The individual church pays the start-up cost of $7,000 for a family of four while the federal government pays half of the income support of $20,000. Of the total cost of $27,000 to support a refugee family for a year, the church pays $17,000 and the government $10,000.

 

The committee wants to do this project well, so it is not in a rush, said Fraser. “We want everything in place before we apply - hopefully by the end of January.”

 

Once the application is approved, a refugee family arrives in one to four months.

 

The committee does not care about the nationality of the family, Fraser said. Besides the Middle East, there are also refugee camps in Africa and South America.

 

“My dream is that we can bring in more than one family from the same area so they can support one another,” she said.

 

To answer questions about the program and to receive offers, monetary and otherwise, a public meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church. You could also offer support by contacting Fraser at 519-396-2311 or by e-mail: knoxminister@gmail.com

 

“I’m hoping this becomes a real community project,” Fraser said. She has been delighted with the response to date.

 

The committee is responsible for a family for one year. “Hopefully we can help the family find employment for its long-term future,” she said.  The family will likely have to relocate after a year for work but if employment is found locally, the community could continue to help.


Great work for the support to

Great work for the support to the refugees. Best wishes to Kathy Fraser for initiating the process and the government too. Cheers!