It’s looking like a happy ending to a story we told you about in October regarding a local group working to resettle a Syrian refugee family in Belleville.
Since 2015, Belleville Syria Connection has been committed to sponsoring a Syrian refugee family through the Federal Government’s Blended Visa Program to help them come to Belleville and adjust to life in Canada. There were some frustrations regarding delays in the resettlement process and the possibility that the group would have to choose another family making connections.
However that has all changed.
Spokeswoman for the group Melissa Wakeling told Quinte News she is happy to report they have received official notice of arrival of their family.
They anticipate the young family of three will arrive in Belleville by mid-December.
She said they have a lot to do to get ready for their arrival. She added they won’t be sending an official press release as they want to respect the family’s privacy.
She concluded it is her understanding Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis, who has been working closely with the group, has requested a meet and greet with the family which will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
This comes as Quinte area residents continue in their efforts to welcome about 78 new Syrian refugee families through private sponsorship by the end of this year.
A report by the Canadian Press Tuesday stated provincial officials say Ontario has taken in more than 14,000 Syrian refugees since this time last year, when the first government plane carrying refugees arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
Since then, more than 5,500 adult refugees have received language assessments and taken part in free language training and more than 4,600 children have been registered in school in Ontario.
Most of the refugees have settled in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, Ottawa, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Windsor.
Ontario has allocated more than $10 million over two and a half years for resettlement and related supports, in addition to the $2 million it gave for immediate overseas relief.