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Vancity provides $1 million for new Welcome House

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On World Refugee Day June 20, ISSofBC announced they are one step closer to providing vital support services to refugees, thanks to a $1-million capital grant from the Vancity Credit Union (Vancity) to help build a new Welcome House Centre for refugees and immigrants.

The Centre will be a fully-integrated and coordinated regional service hub that addresses the immediate needs of Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) and immigrants.

“The new Welcome House Centre will be the first of its kind in the world,” said Chris Friesen, ISSofBC director of settlement services. “The impetus for creating the new facility was to take everything that a refugee or an immigrant would need when they first arrive in the country and house it all in one building.”

The funding announcement came during a World Refugee Day event at the Vancouver Public Library yesterday afternoon. Former refugees spoke during the event of overcoming immense obstacles to build new lives for themselves in Vancouver including Tehseen Ahmed, a GAR Urgent Protection Case from Pakistan who organized the first gay pride parade in Karachi.

“ISSofBC played an important role in my life after coming to Canada. I would have felt very lost without their support,” he said.

In addition, Alex Charlton, Director of Settlement Orientation Services (S.O.S) was recognized for her dedication and hard work in Settlement services. She also introduced the UN World refugee Day theme – one family torn apart by war is one too many.

The 58,000-sq-foot Welcome House Centre is expected to open June 20, 2015, at 2610 Victoria Drive.


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