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Manitoba Providing Emergency Housing, Resettlement Funds for Refugee Asylum-Seekers

February 23, 2017 10:26 AM | News

Emerson Refugees

Fadel Alshawwa, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, brings blankets into a community hall for refugees that may walk across the border in Emerson, Man. Thursday, February 9, 2016. Refugees have been crossing into Canada at Emerson and authorities had a town hall meeting in Emerson to discuss their options. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is coming forward with new supports to address the ongoing refugee crisis in southern Manitoba.

The province is immediately providing 14 units of emergency housing for temporary shelter for refugee claimants through the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (Welcome Place), with $110,000 to the organizations for support services for refugee claimants including paralegal services and safe transportation from Emerson to Winnipeg.

Emerson has seen 111 asylum seekers sneak into Manitoba from the U.S. over the last month. When refugees first arrive, they are arrested by RCMP and taken to the Canada Border Services Agency where a refugee claim is made. From there, the MIIC sends a van to transport them to Winnipeg. Many are being housed temporarily at the Salvation Army until their claim can be heard by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO) is also receiving $70,000 to fund a refugee response co-ordinator for 2017-18.

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the provincial government and look forward to continuing to collaborate as we provide emergency shelter and other supports to those in the greatest need,” said Rita Chahal, executive director of Welcome Place. “The ability of our community to pull together is unmatched and we have no doubt that Manitobans will continue to open their hearts.

Emergency personnel in Emerson — often the first point of contact for asylum-seekers — will receive additional support with temporary primary care paramedics being deployed through the Paramedic Association of Manitoba.

While refugees wait for their claim to make its way through the system, they receive Employment and Income Assistance, provincial health services, paralegal and legal aid support to assist with claim processes, and access to education and community services.

— Staff