Creating a safe haven for refugee claimants and other vulnerable newcomers

DIVERSEcity is named lead contract holder for new provincial BC Safe Haven funding

There is a growing number of humanitarian and vulnerable newcomers coming to BC who are not eligible for federal settlement programs, but need support to settle into their new communities, practise their English, and find work and housing.

New program funding from the provincial government, BC Services and Assistance for Humanitarian and Vulnerable Newcomers (BC SAF HAVN), meets that funding gap to support the social and economic integration of these newcomers, primarily for refugee claimants and mental health supports for refugees, CUAET visa holders and other humanitarian newcomers.

DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society is honoured to be the lead contract holder for the new Safe Haven program in Surrey and Delta, delivering these much-needed services, in collaboration with several partner organizations, to some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“It’s critical that we address the compelling needs of these newcomers in our communities. With higher rates of vulnerability and complex needs, we want to create a safe and supportive space for them to gain the information and resources they need to start a promising life in BC. The new Safe Haven program is an innovative, holistic delivery model that addresses everything from their settlement, language learning, housing and employment needs to their mental wellbeing,” says Meheret Bisrat, Director, Settlement & Community Development, DIVERSEcity.

“In our daily work supporting people in our communities, we see that there is a growing need for integrated services. With increased numbers of refugee claimants in BC, we are being called to help. Thanks to the Government of BC, our ability to step up to support the most vulnerable among us with a compassion and care is a testament of who we are as British Columbians,” she adds.

The DIVERSEcity-led Safe Haven program will offer multilingual, wraparound services that support refugee claimants in all aspects of their journey including:

  • Settlement services and immigration information
  • Claims submission support
  • Employment counselling, job skills support and training
  • Short-term counselling and trauma counselling
  • 2SLGBTQI+ support
  • English-language assessment and training
  • Housing search and support
  • Legal navigation and more

Some services may be delivered in various languages, including Punjabi, Spanish, Dari, Pashto, Arabic and Tigrinya. Languages and eligibility for each service area may differ.

Our service delivery partners include: Sources Community Resources Centres, Options Community Services, YWCA, Muslim Food Bank, Umoja Operation Compassion Society, Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, PICS and Sher Vancouver.

Learn more about the program here.