November 12, 2015 3:48 pm
Updated: November 12, 2015 7:15 pm

Race is on to find housing for Syrian refugees in Manitoba

A Syrian refugee child sleeps on his father's arms while waiting at a resting point to board a bus, after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos,

AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen
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WINNIPEG — With a possible 2,000 Syrian refugees on the way to Manitoba the race is on to find enough housing for the influx.

Premier Greg Selinger says finding temporary and long term housing for such a large number of people that may arrive closely together will be a challenge.

READ MORE: Syrian refugees: How you can help

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“There’s going to be what resources we can make available through families sponsoring refugees, through available vacancies in apartment blocks, through condos that may be available for short term rental, so we do have to look at all the options,” he said.

Reaching out to church groups  and utilizing residential accommodations outside of Winnipeg will also be part of the plan, said Selinger.

Local organizations specializing in refugee settlement say they’re ready for the influx.

Rita Chahal, the executive director of Welcome Place says they’ve received numerous calls from Winnipeggers who are willing to host Syrian families at their homes.

“Our front desk has been inundated with calls the last couple of days with people offering their places and saying if you need the space temporary or long term we’re available,” she said.

She agrees with Selinger that finding housing for such a large group will be difficult but believes a collaborative effort between groups like hers, the government and the community will be enough to meet the challenge

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