Oceanview Community Church in Ladysmith has found a home for a Syrian refugee family after raising over $58,000 over the last three years to sponsor them. It found a rental in north Duncan after searching for housing in a challenging market.
“We knew it would be bad, we just didn’t think it would be as bad as it was,” said Pastor Darin Phillips. “We just kept losing out on place after place and so we threw it out out to the church and said we got to pray.”
During the search, the church community scoured ads and showed up at places to be put on wait lists, along with hundreds of others, according to Phillips. “God wants us to do this, he is going to have to provide a house,” he said
Originally he hoped to find a home in Ladysmith, but nothing was available. He said the location in Duncan ended up being near ideal though, with schools, shopping and English lessons close to the family.
“There is a lot of things they need and they can get access to it really quickly. In the end we realized this is a better location than if we had got a rental in the outskirts of Cedar somewhere where we would have had to drive the family constantly to every appointment,” Phillips said.
When the church community showed up at the rental many others were there who also wanted it, but Phillips said the church managed to make a deal because it had members who could help fix up the unit after a previous tenant left it in poor condition. The landlord provided materials and the church took the time to replace ruined flooring.
“I think he maybe kind of felt a bit of compassion for the refugee family and then realizing they are the renter, but the whole church is behind this. He is not going to have a repeat of the situation he just came out of,” Phillips said.
It is still not clear when the family will arrive and when they do, they will have to complete a two-week quarantine before the church can throw a proper welcome party. The church paid rent for December and January to secure housing for their arrival and prepared the home with all the family will need.
“We got boots for kids and jackets and all the stuff they don’t have coming from a warm climate so I was really proud to see the house,” Phillips said.
He said the church has been reassured spiking COVID-19 cases should not impede the family from coming because of testing and quarantine requirements.
Funds were raised to support the family through donations and fundraising events and Phillips said the community support was amazing.