Halifax-based organization that helps newcomers resettle looking for a hand themselves

By Steve Gow

An organization aimed at helping displaced Ukranians resettle in Halifax is facing a challenge of their own.

Becky Mason is chair of the Nova Scotia Resettlement Society, currently located on Agricola Street.

The non-profit organization helps Ukrainians — and now other countries where violence is uprooting families, like Syria, the Gaza Strip and other areas — resettle in Nova Scotia.

However, with the building that houses their current location being sold, she says the Society is urgently looking for a new space in which to base their operations and provide newcomers with furniture, household item as as well as resettlement services.

“The building went on the market so we are looking for a new space at a time when we can’t really afford to pay rent,” she tells CityNews Halifax. “So again, we are looking for generosity from the business community or somebody who has some spare space for a bit.”

Mason adds this comes even as the Society has seen a doubling of families needing their services over the past week, most likely due to a critical deadline under immigration rules.

According to the federal government, individuals possessing a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel visa have until March 31 to travel to Canada.

Mason says she hopes a generous donor will help them find a new space of between 2,000 to 3,000 square feet for April or as soon as possible for between six to 12 months, rent-free.

The Nova Scotia Settlement Society sprouted up from The Ukrainian Store, which helped supply newcomers to the province with household supplies and clothing as well as assist people through the complicated channels of moving to a strange country.

“Last year, (the Society) recognized the good work and the need for what they were doing and decided to kind of become a incorporated organization and formalize,” says Mason, adding that the group also wanted to extend their charity to other displaced people from other global regions undergoing violence.

“To date, although we are negotiating one small, small grant, we have received no government funding (and) we’re really quite a new organization.”

As the organization takes important steps to be able to help more newcomers to Nova Scotia, it also always needs volunteers to help out in several oher ways.

“(We) always need donations of furniture and household items,” says Mason. “And we’re always looking for people who can help us on the front line on Tuesdays and Saturdays in kind of direct support and also people to provide leadership and special skills and communications, committee work so there’s lots of ways that Nova Scotians can reach out to respond to the things we see on TV.”

For more information or to help the N.S. Resettlement Society, contact Becky Mason at 902-877-1902 or by email at: makeithappen@eastlink.ca

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