News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg's Welcome Place 'maxed out,' new settlement plan to be released Monday

A steady influx of asylum seekers crossing the Canada-U.S. border into Emerson, Man., has Welcome Place, which offers short-term housing for refugees, full to the brink.

Fadel Alshawwa, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, brings blankets into a community hall for refugees that may walk across the border in Emerson, Man. Thursday, February 9, 2016. Refugees have been crossing into Canada at Emerson and authorities had a town hall meeting in Emerson to discuss their options.

John Woods / The Canadian Press

Fadel Alshawwa, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, brings blankets into a community hall for refugees that may walk across the border in Emerson, Man. Thursday, February 9, 2016. Refugees have been crossing into Canada at Emerson and authorities had a town hall meeting in Emerson to discuss their options.

The steady march of refugees fleeing the United States into Manitoba continued on the weekend, leaving Winnipeg’s largest newcomer assistance agency stretched to the limit. 

Welcome Place, which offers short-term housing and is organized by the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC), has led the way in accommodating the province’s influx of refugee claimants.

But on Sunday, Rita Chahal, MIIC Executive Director, confirmed Welcome Place and a “temporary location” set up to accommodate larger than normal refugee claimant volume are “maxed out.”

Manitoba RCMP said at least 21 people crossed the province’s southern border illegally near Emerson Saturday morning.

Those individuals, like others who have made the trip before them in what is a growing trend, were taken by police to the Canada Border Services Agency to make refugee claims.

Many of the asylum-seekers then make their way to Winnipeg, where groups like MIIC are trying desperately to help them find temporary homes.

The recent inundation has them bursting at the seams.

Limited by financial constraints and space, the group is currently working on a plan to continue helping Manitoba’s new refugees.


“We will make an official statement (Monday afternoon) to sort of lay out the plan,” Chahal said.

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