27.7 C
Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Welcome refugees into your home

Latest News

Mt Warning ban

Chris Gee, Byron Bay Indigenous readers be advised that the following letter contains references to persons deceased. I read with some...

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 24 February, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Police use road spikes to catch speeder

Police say that on Friday at around 10.45pm, they received information that a stolen Hyundai Santa Fe was travelling south of the Pacific Motorway towards the QLD/NSW border.

Ready for Byron’s latest massive development on Jonson St?

The changing face of Byron as Gold Coast and Sydney developers move in to recreate the look and feel of the town with intense development proposals.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Transparency needed

Janelle Saffin MP, State Member for Lismore. I read with interest Mia Armitage’s front page article in last week’s Echo...

Police confirm Main Arm drug operation

NSW Police have finally confirmed what pretty much every one in Main Arm already knows – they are conducting drug operations in the north of the Shire.

Refugees Welcome Australia meeting in Brisbane. Photo supplied.

Refugees Welcome Australia opened its doors in January 2017, started by Byron Shire local Suus de Groot Heupner and four others across the country, and it aims to provide home-sharing accommodation to refugees and people seeking asylum.

They are currently operating out of Sydney and Brisbane and surrounding areas connecting refugees and asylum seekers with hosts that provide long-term housing arrangements, free of rent.

We connect refugees and people seeking asylum with spare rooms. We focus on spare rooms because we see value in people-to-people connections,’ said Suus.

However, they are interested to gauge the interest in the program from potential hosts in the Byron Shire region.

‘Because of the strong networks in the Byron region there is growing possibility to extend to this area.’

Hosts are asked to provide a minimum of three months to ensure a level of stability to the people being hosted.

What is most important is that people enter this kind of program with expectations that are in the interest of the person seeking assistance,’ continued Suus.

‘We find it important that, on the road to independence, the refugee or person seeking asylum is empowered. While this kind of willingness may be seen as an act of charity we acknowledge this kind of engagement is often mutually beneficial and the best matches are those where the hosts recognises this.’

Though there is a growing interest in people moving to regional areas a significant factor in this decision is employment with people most likely to relocate if there is an opportunity for work.

Refugees Welcome has now placed 22 people including a pregnant woman who recently gave birth.

Refugees and asylum seekers come from a range of countries including Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Congo (DRC), Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia.

‘Our primary focus is on the host aspect,’ continued Suus.

‘Our online platform and the operations of our on the grounds team are designed to support the hosts from the moment we receive their application via our portal until the moment the resident moves out – and even after that!

‘We know that to open your home and family to a new member can be a change to your life so we try and identify and manage the expectations of the prospective hosts as best as we can with workshops and info sessions, guidelines and points to consider that are often overlooked before someone moves in.’

If you would like more information head to Refugees Welcome Australia. www.refugeeswelcome.org.au


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

5 COMMENTS

    • What a disgusting way to refer to refugees, the majority of whom have suffered in ways unimaginable to most of us. Refugees are not imports they are human beings, they are not inanimate objects. I suppose there’s no room in your home for refugees anyway because it is probably full of Australia’s homeless. If this is the case then congratulations on your sterling humanitarianism but please, treat all people with the dignity they deserve.

    • Cris, please listen to what Gareth has said to you above – he’s got it exactly right. I too certainly hope that you have taken homeless people into your home; if you have not, then you are a hypocrite. Either way, some day you might be a refugee, and I hope you are willing to have people slam doors in your face because you are an ‘import’. I have met a number of refugees in Nauru, and they are serious, hard-working, genuine, kind-hearted people who would do anything for you. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there, Cris….?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

‘The Great Reset’

Gary Opit, Wooyung I appreciated the letter by Lucas Wright (17 February) on the Great Reset conspiracy fantasy. With our privileged, western, simplistic understanding of...

Letting go

Mary McMorrow, Mullumbimby I respect the parents forgiving the drunk driver who killed their four children (one a cousin) as their way of dealing with...

Ministers misbehave

Keith Duncan, Pimlico Accusations of appalling behaviour by the Liberal Party in covering up misdeeds within its ranks just keep on keeping on. The last...

Transparency needed

Janelle Saffin MP, State Member for Lismore. I read with interest Mia Armitage’s front page article in last week’s Echo ‘Electorates miss out on bushfire...