Syrian Refugee program, community meeting, Wed., Dec. 16, 2015

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Syrian Refugee program,
community meeting,
Wednesday, 7 pm, Dec. 16, 2015
at St. Andrew’s

Moved by the challenges facing refugees, a group of Cochrane and area people is investigating the feasibility of working with the federal government’s current Syrian refugee program by sponsoring a Syrian family to settle in our community.

The group invites any person interested in joining this effort to attend a public meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held in St. Andrew’s United Church on First Street East.

“We realize there are refugees and displaced people in our own country and throughout the world deserving our help,” said spokesperson Andy Marshall. “However, the federal government has placed a priority on Syrian people, making it easier to sponsor them.”
Some in the group have been researching the most efficient processes for managing a private sponsorship. These will be outlined at the meeting.

Under the latest federal initiative, Calgary alone is expected to welcome up to a thousand people. The group thinks Cochrane has a role to play, too.

Private sponsorships by informal groups or by community organizations require a year’s commitment to guarantee a refugee family all the basic necessities, including shelter costs, food, furniture, household items and clothing. They also involve helping a new family access a range of basic services, including work placements, medical needs, education, language training, transportation, and social integration.

The federal government has established financial estimates for meeting these needs based on family size. For example, an interested community group would have to raise $30,000 for a family of five, or $21,000 for a couple.

The Cochrane group has no religious affiliation. Its goal is simply to help people in need. Apart from providing more information on the initiative, the purpose of the meeting is to determine what time, expertise or specialized interests people have to help. People will also be asked what financial commitment they are able and willing to make.

For further information, contact Liz Giles, lizzyblueyes@hotmail.com, 403-932-7753, or Andy Marshall, camarshall3@shaw.ca, 403-932-6580. If people are unable to attend the Dec. 16 meeting, but are still interested in this initiative, please also contact the above people.
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