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Temporary housing needed as Peterborough prepares for nearly 80 Afghan refugees

Click to play video: 'Peterborough’s New Canadians Centre welcoming 78 Afghan refugees' Peterborough’s New Canadians Centre welcoming 78 Afghan refugees
Seventy-eight Afghan refugees will be arriving in Peterborough Friday. They're part of a group of 2,000 refugees who arrive in Toronto, seeking safety – Sep 16, 2021

A group of 78 Afghan refugees will be arriving in Peterborough this Friday, according to officials with the New Canadians Centre in the city.

The organization which supports immigrants and refugees adjusting to life in Canada, said Wednesday the 78 are part of a group of 2,000 emergency arrivals to Toronto and are under the care of settlement agency COSTI. Thousands of Afghans are fleeing the country after the Taliban regained control of the country in August.

Read more: Nearly 1,300 people with ties to Canada still in Afghanistan two weeks after U.S. pulled out

Many Afghan women have gone into hiding due to the Taliban’s history of treating them as property or second-class citizens, physically punishing them in public and forcing them into unwanted marriages.

“Many families want to stay in the Toronto area to be close to family and friends,” said Andy Cragg, New Canadians Centre executive director. “COSTI has, therefore, taken on a huge responsibility for resettlement. Yesterday, we were asked to support the resettlement of a group of 78 Afghans.”

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Cragg said it’s expected many of the refugees will stay in Peterborough for approximately four to eight weeks but will want to live in the Toronto area permanently. The 78 arrivals spent two weeks in quarantine in Toronto upon their arrival to Canada.

“But while they are with us, we will provide them with temporary housing, help them meet their basic needs, deliver basic orientations to life in Canada, and help them find permanent accommodations,” he said.

Cragg says the NCC is seeking support from residents to support the refugees including dropping off hand-made cards and drawings to welcome them. Cards can be dropped off at the NCC’s mailbox outside their building at 221 Romaine St.

Click to play video: 'Afghan refugees grateful to settle into ‘bright future’ in Calgary' Afghan refugees grateful to settle into ‘bright future’ in Calgary
Afghan refugees grateful to settle into ‘bright future’ in Calgary – Sep 14, 2021

Other items are not to be dropped off at this time due to capacity issues, he noted.

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“Be a welcoming and inclusive community member,” he said.

“Being friendly and welcoming to all goes a long way to making our newest residents feel good as they get to know their new community, make friends and start over in a new country.”

The NCC is also encouraging landlords and property managers to provide affordable and safe housing they may have available.

Volunteers are also needed for the NCCs resettlement efforts and recruitment efforts are underway, Cragg noted.

Anyone willing to help can contact the NCC via email at ncc@nccpeterborough.ca or visit their website.

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