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City of Toronto website matches Syrian refugees with housing, jobs

Last Updated Jan 16, 2016 at 11:57 pm EDT

Syrian refugees seeking a better life in Toronto will receive a helping hand thanks to a new online initiative.

Social service WoodGreen Community Services, in collaboration with the City of Toronto’s Refugee Resettlement Program, has launched a website called H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities and Marketplace Exchange).

The website aims to match Syrian refugees with housing, jobs, furniture, clothes, and other services donated by individuals and businesses.

“We said we’re going to set up a housing registry to help because the biggest challenge we probably have is all the people who want to help with things like housing and jobs … and those who need the help, and putting them together,” Mayor John Tory said at the Woodgreen Immigrant Settlement Centre on Danforth Avenue earlier in the day.

“The city government does its best, but [with] technology these days sometimes it’s the best matchmaker.”

So far, around 10,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. Vera Dodic with the Toronto Newcomer Office said 4,100 refugees arrived in Ontario between Dec. 10 and Jan. 12. Out of that figure, 2,000 came to Toronto.

The Liberals hope to bring in 25,000 Syrians by the end of February and at least 10,000 more by the end of 2016.

“We know that housing is a major need for the refugees arriving in Toronto, and we wanted to create a central place where people could post offers of available housing and other goods and services,” Anne Babcock, president and CEO of WoodGreen, said in a release.

At the facility, refugees and their sponsors can also get help with housing assistance and other support services.