Roofs 4 Refugees launched to find affordable housing for newcomers
Priority is to find housing to accommodate families of 5, ideally for no less than 1 year
A group of Ottawans has created a website to match refugees with property owners who have affordable housing to offer.
Roofs 4 Refugees launched Friday and is a partnership between the group, Refugee 613 and the Catholic Centre for Immigrants.
The priority is to find housing to accommodate families of five, ideally for no less than a year, the team behind the website told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Friday.
People with housing to offer are vetted by volunteers who show up to the home for an on-site inspection and to interview the potential hosts at length, said Tara Matar, one of the group's co-ordinators.
The group hopes housing will be offered at a rental cost that works out to about $450 per person per month, which is roughly what refugees receive through government assistance.
The team were motivated by Ottawa's affordable housing shortage, for which there is about a five-year waiting list.
And for Olivia Tran, another of the group's co-ordinators, the motivation was also personal.
"Growing up I always heard stories from my parents about their journey by boat to Canada and their struggles adapting to Canada, but I also heard tonnes of great stories, too, of Canadians that helped out, what a welcoming country Canada was," said Tran, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Vietnam.
"So when this refugee crisis appeared, I knew that I had to do something to give back for myself and for my family," she said.