YMCA Northern Alberta is making life easier for new Canadians in Fort McMurray.
For the second year, the non-profit is engaging in a Local Immigration Partnership initiative – designed to build community awareness in newcomers and immigrants.
Alexandra Tarasenko is Coordinator for the LIP initiative – which seeks to address the needs of newcomers and improve their integration outcomes.
She tells Mix News the program comprises of key community members working with new Canadians.
“This is a community wide, multi-sectoral collaboration aiming to strengthen our community’s capacity to welcome newcomers and immigrants. Pretty much it’s a community driven partnership based around their needs.”
A survey is available online for residents to give their two cents on the needs of new Canadians and community assets and gaps.
There are numerous other resources form programs helping newcomers at the YMCA including the Employment Link program and Immigrant Settlement Services.
Ahmed Salman is coordinator for the Immigrant Settlement Services – which helps with settling newcomers into the community.
He tells Mix News it’s their goal to help with immigration issues and overcome language barriers.
“We do a needs assessment to see what needs and priorities are and then afterwards, we give information as well as provide services from our offices or we refer to other agencies in the community.”
Gara Nlandu is coordinator of the Employee Link Program – helping new Canadians overcome language barriers to find employment.
She tells Mix News some of the biggest issues they deal with include affordable housing for newcomers.
“We have a lot of people coming in, some of them do have a place to stay but is it affordable for them? Unfortunately, it is a bit expensive so, they end up on the streets and we are here to help them as much as we can, so we do refer them to the programs that apply to their needs.”
To take the survey on newcomers’ needs – head to newcomers-ymm.ca/survey.