After months of preparing to host a refugee family of seven, the Port Alberni Refugee Sponsorship Group recently found out that the Syrian family has been declined entry into Canada.
The news last Thursday came as a shock to group member, Pamela Day.
“It was disappointing,” Day said. “It came as a surprise because we were expecting them any minute.
“The latest news we had was that it was just a matter of getting them a flight.”
Although the Canadian government did not give a reason for the family’s failure to pass screening into the country, the group has been assured another family will be assigned to Port Alberni. Day said there is nothing they can do but wait.
“This has happened to a group in Victoria and sometimes we hear it is just simple things,” Day said. “Something was found to be a problem at the last minute.”
She is confident a family will be moving into the rental house the group has completely furnished. It might take up to a few months, following the government’s relocation of families on a priority basis by the end of February.
The PARSC is now submitting the required documents to Immigration Canada.
“There is no chance we won’t get a family,” Day said. “There are so many in need and the program we are going through selects the families who are most in need.”
For now, some of the household furnishings are being stored at Trinity Church and only minor changes in the house will take place depending on the size of the family and age of children.
PARSC has raised almost $29,000 through community donations. Anything not required will be used by a family assigned to the Holy Family Notre Dame sponsor group, given to another family or donated to charity.
“We are ready for the next family,” Day said.