Kerr Street Mission preparing to Welcome Syrian Refugees

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Kerr Street Mission preparing to Welcome Syrian Refugees
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Lisa Goetze

Lisa Goetze

Lisa is the communications co-ordinator for Kerr Street Mission. She grew up in Oakville, and has left and returned many times since graduating high school. She holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Graduate Diploma in Journalism.

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“We’ve already been preparing to do more,” says Gary O’Neill, Executive Director of Oakville’s Kerr Street Mission. “KSM has reached out to other local organizations to identify and leverage the support that is available for new families.”

“When people are new to Canada or in distress they need support,” O’Neill explains. “They may need help to secure basic needs, like food, housing and employment, for themselves or their families. They may need help with rental agreements, loans and other basic things we take for granted, for example opening a bank account.”

The Liberal government announced yesterday that it will scale back its initial refugee resettlement plan, and will now welcome 10,000 refugees into the country by the end of the year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the CBC he hopes Syrian refugee families will be able to integrate quickly
into Canadian communities.

While big city mayors were given a heads up about the government’s plan, it’s likely some refugees will end up in towns such as Oakville. Two separate groups have approached Kerr Street Mission in recent weeks to find out how to best support Syrian refugee families these groups are sponsoring to the area.

Kerr Street Mission will continue to offer help to our community as 10,000 new people arrive to our country by the end of December. Most of these individuals or families are already being sponsored by Canadians. “While Syrian refugee families will have systems of support in place, we know that adjusting to a new life will be challenging,” says O’Neill.


KSM’s new program, RESTORE Halton, will be an excellent option for new families. RESTORE provides one-on-one support through volunteer care planners trained to provide encouragement, direction and assistance. Through other Child and Family Care programs, KSM can be another link to engaging these new Canadians to ensure their needs are met.

Kerr Street Mission provides help for the present and hope for the future for those living in need in Oakville. Since 1996, KSM has helped care for low-income and at-risk families and youth. More than a food bank, we also provide community meals, after-school care, youth mentoring and development, financial counselling and much more.

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