British Columbia

Refugees in B.C.: Vancouver developer Daljit Thind offers up housing

Vancouver developer Daljit Thind is offering several homes to Syrian refugees as immigration advocates ask others to donate housing.

Donation stems from his own experience as an immigrant to Canada

Vancouver developer Daljit Thind shows housing he's offering to Syrian refugees 0:40

Vancouver developer Daljit Thind is offering several homes to Syrian refugees as immigration advocates ask others to donate housing as well.

Thind, of Thind Properties, has been building homes in Metro Vancouver for the past 16 years and is now offering seven units in the 2400 block of Kingsway because of his own experience as a immigrant coming to Canada.

He's the latest home-builder to offer up housing for refugees set to come to B.C. from Syria by the end of the year.

Thind says starting from nothing in a new country isn't easy.

"We [who are] born in Punjab and the Sikh community ... that's what our teaching [is] by our gurus," he said. "Give back to the community, whatever you make."

Each unit he is offering has two to four bedrooms and can house one family. Thind says his company will contribute furniture, but also is looking for donations.

"We are all immigrants, so we are very sensitive to people who are homeless, coming from different countries," said Charan Gill with Progressive Intercultural Community Services, which has asked for donations of housing.

Hundreds of offers

Immigration Services Society of BC says it's received more than 500 offers to house Syrian refugees.

"They vary tremendously from apartment units to rooms in people's homes," said Chris Friesen with the organization.

Friesen says the intent is not to displace anyone currently housed or those currently needing shelter in B.C.

"We don't want to compete with the homeless," he said.

The society plans to meet with housing groups in early December to find a way to share services.

Meanwhile, Thind says he's willing to house Syrian families for as long as they need it.

"If same thing happened to you or your family, how would you feel right?" he said. "So that [motivates] me."

with files from the CBC's Kamil Karamali

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