Iraqi refugees say temporary home in Burnaby is infested with bedbugs

Iraqi refugees find bedbugs in Vancouver accommodations
WATCH: One family of Iraqi refugees says its temporary home is infested with bedbugs, and is totally uninhabitable. Tanya Beja reports.

An Iraqi family that resettled in Burnaby as refugees say they were moved into rental housing that is infested with bedbugs.

The Al Dulaimis signed a one-year lease for their three-bedroom, $1,400-a-month unit back in November with the help of the Immigrant Services Society (ISS). Days after moving in, they found bugs crawling on their mattresses and bite marks on their bodies.

“We are very tired, very tired,” Ameera Al Dulaimi said. “My small children don’t sleep well at night. They wake up and cry, ‘There are bedbugs, Mom.'”

The Al Dulaimis say they took their concerns to ISS, but were brushed off. They approached the landlord, who called pest control several times, but the problem persisted.

“Nobody feels comfortable, nobody can study, nobody can change their clothes,” said Zahraa Al Dulaimi.

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The Burnaby low-rise had been flagged multiple times on an online bedbug registry before the family even moved in.

Chris Friesen, director of Immigrant Services Society, couldn’t speak to the specifics of the case but calls it an unfortunate incident.

“We do our due diligence to ensure places are affordable, safe and clean. Issues that arise after the family moves in, we will help, where we can in finding a solution.”

ISS does not typically help families move into a second unit when problems arise in the first.

The Al Dulaimis have given notice and plan to move out at the end of the month although they have not yet found alternate accommodation. They say their fear is that another family will move in to the same situation.