City launches portal for donating housing, goods, and services for Syrian refugees

This past weekend, I was proud to attend the launch of the City's newest resource to aid Syrian refugees settling in Toronto.

As part of the City of Toronto's Refugee Resettlement Program, WoodGreen Community Services has launched a website called H.O.M.E., short for Housing Opportunities and Marketplace Exchange. The website matches Syrian refugees with housing, goods and services from donors, both businesses and individuals, to help Syrian refugees who are settling in Toronto. Refugees, sponsors, landlords or donors can access H.O.M.E online at http://www.woodgreen.org.

WoodGreen, along with the donated services of Deloitte and the Konrad Group have come together to create a new online portal to match Syrian refugees in need with offers of housing, goods and services. Based on an application built by Vlocity, H.O.M.E. allows donors - both businesses and individuals - to post available housing, goods and services to help Syrian refugees arriving in Toronto.

City funding has enabled WoodGreen to also launch an in-person Housing Help Service at 815 Danforth Ave. (WoodGreen's address) to provide ongoing support to Syrian refugees and their sponsors by providing assistance in locating housing, as well as providing referrals to other service providers and linking them to other useful resources, including language training, employment, education and healthcare.

The City began actively implementing its Refugee Resettlement Program, which has included launching http://www.toronto.ca/refugees, last October. Activity has included hosting information fairs to connect sponsors, refugees and potential sponsors with agencies that provide settlement services and entering into service agreements with community agencies to increase supports and resources available to new Torontonians and their sponsors.