CCOC Partners with OCRA to Support Syrian Refugees
January 4, 2016Ray SullivanComments 0
CCOC has a long tradition of working with local sponsors to house refugees and new immigrants.
With the Syrian refugee crisis, CCOC’s board and staff are glad to step up a bit more and do our part to help more refugee families settle in Ottawa.
CCOC’s board, acting on a recommendation from our Rentals Committee, voted at the end of December to make five market-rent apartments available to Syrian refugees. We’ll also stick with them after their first year to help them establish successful tenancies in their new CCOC homes and to keep their rents affordable. We decided that The Ottawa Centre Refugee Action group (OCRA) is the perfect partner for us. We especially love their focus on finding Syrian families homes in Ottawa’s vibrant downtown neighbourhoods.
Supporting Refugee Families in Ottawa
OCRA started about four months ago with five or six people who wanted to support Syrian refugee families coming to Ottawa. They now have over 400 people involved and have collected $163,000 in pledges. OCRA is working with the United Church and Jewish Family Services; organizations with a long history and lots of experience welcoming and settling refugees.
OCRA is setting up Family Support Groups, matching the interests and expertise of volunteers to build an 8 to 10 person support group for each family. Family Support Groups will provide social and emotional support, transportation, assistance in navigating government paperwork, enrolling in schools, finding health care, housing, and any number of other tasks. It’s a big job, and we’re happy we can help with the housing part.
Affordable Housing for All
Partnering with OCRA is a great fit for CCOC. They have a great team of volunteers and trusted leadership; as a non-profit landlord we have a great team with expertise in developing successful community partnerships and stable tenancies.
Stable and safe affordable housing is a critical concern for refugees, just as it is for so many people in Ottawa. CCOC is proud that we can extend support to help some refugee families re-establish themselves in Ottawa, without compromising or reducing our commitment to existing Ottawa households, and without relying on government funding.