January 20, 2016 3:26 pm
Updated: January 21, 2016 9:56 am

Surrey residents attend forum on Syrian refugees

Radi poses for a photo with his son and wife, who names are omitted for security reasons, while waiting in an airport in Amman, Jordan, to board a plane to Canada, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015.

AP Photo/Sam McNeil

Surrey residents got their chance to find out more about what local agencies are doing to assist with the settlement of Syrian refugees in their city in a public forum on Wednesday night.

A number of experts and agency representatives were in attendance to provide information and answer any questions that residents might have. Local MP Peter Fassbender answered questions about educating Syrian youth and the RCMP’s chief superintendent also took questions to dispel myths about refugees being a threat to national security.

Speaking at the public event with Finance Minister Bill Morneau last weekend, Surrey mayor Linda Hepner said city’s agencies were well equipped and ready to accept Syrian refugees.

WATCH: Syrian refugees in Surrey eager to learn English and find work

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But on Tuesday, ISS had to enact a five-day moratorium on the arrival of new government-sponsored Syrian refugees in British Columbia to allow settlement workers time to catch up on housing needs.

So far, 700 government-sponsored refugees have arrived in B.C., but only seven families have found permanent housing.

READ MORE: 5-day moratorium on arrival of government-sponsored Syrian refugees in B.C. 

But B.C. is not the only province struggling. A number of Canadian cities are facing challenges finding permanent housing for the influx of Syrian refugees. The federal government says 25,000 are expected to arrive in Canada before the end of February.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada says presently four communities, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Halifax, have asked them to delay new arrivals for a few days.

It does not appear Surrey has enacted any moratoriums on the arrival of new refugees yet.

Tonight’s forum is taking place between 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Fleetwood Park Secondary School, 7940 156 St. in Surrey.

Non-perishable food items, but no clothing donations, will be accepted on location. People who would like to volunteer are also encouraged to apply.

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