The Newcomer and Community Connections with the YMCA of Greater Saint John is the designated government-assisted resettlement agency. As all of Canada is preparing for the processing of new immigrant applications due to border reopening, the Saint John resettlement agency will feel additional pressure.
Kathryn Melvin, the general manager of Newcomer and Community Connections with the YMCA of Greater Saint John, said that over the next five months, the number of applications will increase. She added:
“We’re always looking for people to help welcome new families to our community and show them around. Volunteers are really key.”
The YMCA stated that, in the next few weeks, over 100 refugees from Somalia, Syria and Rwanda will arrive in Canada.
“We don’t know about the numbers for sure but things are picking up,” said Melvin.
The organization has hired new employees in order to successfully manage the whole situation.
Melvin stated that it won’t be easy to find new homes for refugees. She added:
“We’re constantly reaching out to local landlords and getting a sense of what is available in the community that is safe and affordable housing.”
Also, Melvin told the press that finding volunteers could be another problem that should be remedied as soon as possible. Finally, she concluded that some locals may have a hostile sentiment towards the refugees, and it could cause great harm to society as a whole. Melvin said:
“We have seen some evidence of increased racism, including anti-Asian attitudes and Islamophobia during the pandemic. We can’t afford to let these negative attitudes infiltrate our society as we are rebuilding because Canada depends on immigration.”