Thanks to help from Revelstoke Property Services, the Alsowwans have a long term home waiting for them when they arrive in Revelstoke next week.
“We had a lot of very generous offers of places to stay for short periods,” says Brodie Johnson of Revelstoke For Refugees. “But it was important for us to try and find them a longer term place as they have been in limbo for four years. We also didn’t want to have to shuffle around every few weeks as they are trying to get settled into the community. We are very grateful, as so many of us know, it can be hard to find affordable housing in Revelstoke, especially at this time of year.”
The Alsowwans have been in communication with Johnson and other members of the Revelstoke for Refugees committee via facetime and a translator, though the family is hard at work learning English. Johnson anticipates the language to be the main concern for the Alsowwans. “They have overcome to much to get to this point, the Alsowwans will work through it,” says Johnson. “Once they arrive we will really get the baseline of their English, and then we will be working with the Okanagan College Settlement Program as well as tutors to get them up to speed.”
Revelstoke for Refugees have been in touch with the Salmon Arm Refugee group, where 50 Syrian refugees have settled. It’s nice to know, Johnson notes, that people who share a language, culture and circumstance will be close by to offer support to the Alsowwans.
Revelstoke has always been a welcoming community, built by immigrants who came to make a better future for themselves. Johnson is hopeful the town will embrace the Alsowwans with open arms. “There is always the fear the family may encounter racism,” she notes. “But as a group, we decided it was more important to bring them here and not let what ifs from a small section of society prevent us from helping.”
Revelstoke For Refugees is hosting an information night at the Okanagan Library tonight at 6.30pm. All are welcome to attend and learn how they can help the Alsowwans settle in.