Windsor still accepting Syrian refugees as other cities ask for hold

A temporary pause of Syrian refugees landing in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Vancouver could have an effect on Windsor
The first four government-assisted Syrian refugees moved into their new homes recently, but 300 remain in area hotels. (Aadel Haleem / CBC)

Windsor has not asked for temporary hold in accepting new refugees, but the city says it's monitoring the situation as cities across the county have stopped accepting new Canadians.

"As of right now, Windsor has not formally asked for a pause in the acceptance of refugees," says Jelena Payne, the city's Community Development and Health Commissioner.

Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax have all asked for a temporary delay in accepting new refugees.

So far, Windsor has welcomed 390 government-assisted refugees, of which more than 300 are still living in downtown hotels.

Payne says the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County is in daily communication with the federal government with regards to the capacity at hotels.

As of Friday, there were 209 housing units available in Windsor and nine in the County.

"We are still in need of larger units but we understand that with the three bedroom units that are available, we will be able to accommodate the families that will be arriving," says Anna Angelidis, Executive Director of Housing Information Services.

She's hoping for more single homes to accommodate larger families.

"We look to the private landlords to contact us and let us know if they have any units available," she said.

More refugees on the way

"By the end of January, we expect about another 50 individuals to arrive and then we're told that in February, it could be approximately 270 more. So we are expecting by the end of February, here in Windsor, anywhere between 700-800 government-assisted refugees to arrive," says Payne.

She says the city had previously indicated to the provincial government that Windsor could "successfully integrate" 450 refugees.

"By the end of February, we will almost be double that," Payne said.

"The bottom line is that we want to ensure that the individuals who make Windsor-Essex their new home are successful," says Payne.

"We want to ensure that they can find appropriate, affordable housing. we want to ensure that they can find gainful employment and so therefore, we want these families to have the best possible start in our community. And so as the numbers creep up more and more, it does cause for concern only because we want to welcome them but we want to ensure their long-term success also."