Always welcome at Welcome Place

By Flor Marcelino, MLA for Logan

As published in The Times March 31, 2017

Welcome Place is an organization that offers temporary housing for refugees and refugee claimants.

They’ve been around for some time now, and have helped hundreds of refugees access temporary housing while their claims are being reviewed. Welcome Place is one of many settlement organizations within the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC), and is part of the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO).

When asylum seekers cross into Manitoba they are often brought to Winnipeg, after being processed at the border crossing in Emerson, Man. After arriving in the city, organizations like Welcome Place take them in and provide housing, among other supports.

Welcome Place is one of only three organizations in the country that provides In-Canada Protection Services for refugee claimants. This means that they provide services including access to shelter, food, and appropriate clothing, as well as access to health and translation services and paralegal services to fill out necessary documentation.

With the increased flow of refugees coming from the United States, the staff and volunteers at Welcome Place have their work cut out for them. They assist refugee claimants who have walked for many hours, risking freezing temperatures, frostbite, and trudging through heavy snow to make it to Canada. With the numbers continuing to rise, resources are being stretched, but everyone at Welcome Place continues to work hard in order to ensure each refugee is taken care of and has access to appropriate food, shelter, and clothing.

In mid-February, for example, Welcome Place’s housing complex was full, and it was running out of space to house the refugees that were still coming into the province. Instead of ceasing to accept new refugees, Welcome Place reached out to the public and sought additional resources to cover the costs of providing for these refugees. This act of going above and beyond what was expected of them secured thousands of dollars in support for the asylum seekers, including over $30,000 in additional grants from The Winnipeg Foundation.

We are thankful for Welcome Place, which works tirelessly to provide housing and accommodations for new refugees in our province. A big thank-you to the staff and volunteers for the positive mark they have left — and continue to leave — on our community.

If you have any questions about refugee resettlement programs in the city, feel free to get in touch with me at Flor.Marcelino@yourmanitoba.ca or call my constituency office at 204-788-0800.