The Syrian refugee family that was chosen to come to Revelstoke has withdrawn its application, says Revelstoke for Refugees.
“I don’t know why,” said Laura Stovel, a director with Revelstoke for Refugees. “They didn’t attend their appointment in Jordan at the visa office, so the sponsorship agreement holder on the ground in the camp went to visit them and learned they withdrew the application.”
The Almastou family, consisting of a mother, father and five children, was chosen to come to Revelstoke a year ago but their arrival was delayed after the federal government met its stated goal of bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees and slowed down the application process.
Revelstoke for Refugees reached out to the family and sent letters to them from the organization and local school children. For an unknown reason, they chose not to come.
“Maybe that’s why we were waiting for so long. We thought it was a government delay, but maybe they weren’t attending their appointments,” said Stovel. “They have to make the choice that’s best for them and we want someone to come to this community that feels like this was their best choice.”
Revelstoke for Refugees raised almost $60,000 and had an offer of free housing courtesy Reilly and Kristina Geidt.
Stovel said they are now looking at sponsoring another family.
“The problem is the government allocations are really small right now, so we have to figure out a way to bring someone in under a process that will be successful and not take too long,” she said. “We’re looking at various options and we’re going to meet again at the end of the month as a steering committee.”
She said they were determined to bring in a refugee family, despite the delays.
“We think it would be good for the family and good for our town. It’s hard waiting but its nothing compared to being in a refugee camp and fleeing your country,” she said. “We’re really happy with how people have rallied to supported this effort and we don’t want to let them down by dropping the ball. We really are determined to help a Syrian family.”