Permanent homes, schools a top priority for Syrian refugees in Regina

The Regina Open Door Society is now tasked with finding permanent homes and schools for refugees. 18 families arrived in the Queen City on Jan. 8.

18 families arrived in the Queen City on Jan. 8

Syrian refugees wait for their luggage at the Regina airport on Jan. 8, 2016. (CBC)

The 100 Syrian refugees who arrived in Regina on Friday night are now in temporary homes and hotels.

The Regina Open Door Society is tasked with finding permanent homes for the 18 families. It works with around 300 landlords to try and find housing for refugees.

The first 65 newcomers that arrived in December 2015 found permanent homes in less than a week.

Syrian refugees arrived at the Regina airport Jan. 8, 2016. (CBC)

Getachew Woldeyesus, manager of settlement and family services with the Open Door Society, said he hopes the latest group of refugees are settled in a similar fashion.

"We moved all of our families in, that came in December, in early January," Woldeyesus said. "We are now moving to secure housing for this group of newcomers. So, we are hoping to move them as soon as possible."

According to the Open Door Society, 65 per cent of the new refugees are children.

Once the families have a permanent home, Woldeyesus said they can start the process of finding them a school nearby.

"We do everything — all the paperwork [is] ready to go," he said.

"As soon as they move to their permanent accommodation, we refer them to the school divisions. They will do their assessment and they will place them in the classroom."

By the end of February, the province expects at least 800 Syrian refugees.