Hamilton receives $250,000 from Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees

HAMILTON, ON, April 11, 2016 /CNW/ - Community Foundations of Canada and Hamilton Community Foundation are  pleased to announce a $250,000 contribution from the Welcome Fund for Syrian Refugees (Welcome Fund) in support of local settlement efforts. These funds will support the crucial refugee settlement work of Wesley Urban Ministries. The Welcome Fund was seeded by Manulife, and quickly augmented by CN's historic $5 million donation, as well as by generous support from GM.

Established to respond to an urgent gap in accessible and affordable housing, the Welcome Fund provides an important investment in community-driven solutions to support the successful settlement of families recently arrived from Syria and help them transition into suitable permanent housing.

More than 950 government-assisted refugees from Syria have arrived in Hamilton. The Welcome Fund will contribute $250,000 to the Wesley Urban Ministries to provide housing allowances to help families move into sustainable homes, and offer emergency funding to support housing stability and prevent evictions. Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada attended this morning's announcement, bringing a message from IRCC Minister John McCallum.

"It's heartwarming to see the private sector and Community Foundations of Canada come together to support the excellent work that Wesley Urban Ministries is doing," stated Minister McCallum. "These funds will help Syrian refugees with housing and will build connections between newcomers and the community to ensure newcomers are able to integrate and thrive in Hamilton."

"Thank you to Manulife, CN and GM for stepping forward to model corporate social responsibility in supporting the newest members of our community," said Kathleen Bingham, Chair, Wesley Board of Directors. "A major focus for Wesley's staff and volunteers over the past several months has been finding permanent housing for these individuals as then the real settlement experience can begin."

"This investment in our newcomers represents a real commitment to their well-being and successful transition into the community," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. "Partnerships like this one today with Community Foundations of Canada continue to demonstrate that Hamilton is a welcoming community and that together we are making Hamilton the best place to live, work and be a child."

"Shifting refugees from temporary to more permanent homes is the first step in helping people and families to settle into their new lives in Canada," said Andrew Chunilall, Chief Operating Officer at Community Foundations of Canada. "We thank CN, Manulife, GM, and other participating partners for their support, and invite other organizations to step forward to assist with our continued rollout of the Welcome Fund across the country."

"Hamilton Community Foundation is so pleased to be part of the national movement that has facilitated this investment. We know that this generous contribution from our corporate partners, coupled with the work of Wesley Urban Ministries, will play a vital role in welcoming and settling these new Hamiltonians as they begin this next chapter in their lives," said Terry Cooke, President and CEO of Hamilton Community Foundation.

"CN has a great history of helping those arriving at our shores settle in places across our great country," said Lise Jolicoeur, director of Canada community relations at CN. "We hope our $5 million donation to the Welcome Fund will encourage other Canadian businesses to join in contributing to this urgent cause. As that financial aid reaches organizations across the country, including here in Hamilton, CN is proud to support refugees with their transition to a better life, filled with the same dreams for their families and children that all Canadians share."

"The arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada is only one step among many for these new Canadians as they begin the next phase of their lives," said Catherine Milum, Vice President and Head of Investment Sales, Retail Markets, Manulife. "The Welcome Fund was established to provide housing and job preparedness, which would not happen without the leadership of Wesley Urban Ministries."
 
About Community Foundations of Canada


Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada's 191 community foundations which help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient places to live, work, and play. Community foundations contribute time, leadership and financial support to initiatives that benefit community most, directing grants and other investments towards everything from shelter, education, and care for those in need, to the arts, environment and recreation. To learn more visit www.communityfoundations.ca.

To learn more about partnership opportunities related to the Welcome Fund, please contact JP Bervoets, Vice President, Partnerships and Public Engagement, at jbervoets@communityfoundations.ca.

SOURCE Community Foundations of Canada

For further information: Media Contacts: Community Foundations of Canada: David Venn, Director of Communications, Tel: +1 (613) 236-2664 ext. 302, Email: dvenn@communityfoundations.ca, Twitter: @CommFdnsCanada; CN: Patrick Waldron, Senior Manager, Media Relations, Tel: +1 (514) 399-8803, Email: Patrick.Waldron@cn.ca; Manulife: Brooke Tucker-Reid, Media Relations Consultant, Tel: +1 (647) 528-9601, Email: brooke_tucker-reid@manulife.com, Twitter: @Manulife or @ManulifeNews

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