Housing becomes an issue in bringing Syrian family to Petrolia



There is “definitely” enough interest in hosting a Syrian Refugee family in Petrolia.

That’s according to Sylvia Fairbank, one of the members of a committee in Lambton County hoping to bring two families to the county.

Millions of Syrians have fled their homeland after years of civil war. The severity of the situation came to light after a young boy who was fleeing the country with his family drowned during the escape and washed up on the shores of Greece.

The new federal government vows to bring 10,000 refugees to Canada by the end of February and the Lambton Anglican Deanery wants to help.

Recently the group held an information session in Petrolia to see if there would be enough people willing to help sponsor a family to live in the rural community.

Fairbank says they now have 15 “committed” volunteers and another 10 who have shown interest in helping.

Fairbank says that meeting was “mainly to see if there is support here to see if we can move forward and there definitely is.”

The next hurdle will be housing. Fairbank is looking for a home for the family with reasonable rent adding the family will receive federal government support and some will be used for housing.

Fairbank has asked a number of people about the availablity of housing in Petrolia but has yet to find a place. “I’d like to get housing in town,” she says. “Then they can walk – that’s the jooy of Petrolia; for most of the stuff you need, you can walk there and it is accessible.”

She adds she was surprised by the lack of available rental housing. Anyone who might have a home to rent should contact Fairbank at 519-882-0394.

The group hopes to hold another information meeting in late January to give a presentation on exactly what is required for the family to settle in Petrolia.