Erin Refugee Action group ready for arrival of family

The Erin Refugee Action group has raised $45,000 and is ready for the arrival of its refugee family, organizers say.

The group appeared before council on Sept. 13 to give an update on its fundraising efforts.

Over the last six months the group has raised approximately $45,000 and has been focused on bringing the family to Erin, explained group member Barbara Harrison.

Erin Refugee Action has partnered with All Saints Anglican Church in Erin and the Anglican Diocese of Niagara to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.

Harrison also asked for council’s support.

“We are here to ask council for public support of Erin Refugee Action, through a resolution that we hope will be passed today, and for a letter from the mayor welcoming the refugee family to this area. We would like to include that letter in the welcome binder when they arrive,” said Harrison.

She added the community has been very helpful in the group’s fundraising efforts.

“We’ve had an extremely warm response from the Erin community and have raised $45,000 to date,” she said.

 “We are most fortunate to have people with a variety of expertise living in the Erin community and that’s really important.”

Harrison explained there was a youth committee that has been growing vegetables for the incoming family and putting together a scrapbook that shows life in Erin.

Harrison said group members will try to find affordable housing in Erin, but if they cannot they will have to look in a 30-minute radius around the community. They may have to do the same for employment.  

“While we’ve already had a local merchant offer to employ a family member, without us even approaching them, we may need to look more broadly for jobs,” she said.

Councillors expressed their appreciation to the action group. Councillor Rob Smith recognized the issues with finding housing and jobs.  

“It’s not the cheapest place in the world to live and we already have a problem with rental properties as it is … it’s going to be a tough challenge for them … to stay here,” he said.

Harrison said the group hopes to bring the family over in late 2016 or early 2017.