Flowers and card left for the Alshahoud’s upon move-in.
When affordable housing is scarce and competitive in Waterloo Region, it disproportionately affects newcomers. “They’re competing for units with people who already have jobs, local credit history and references. It’s hard for our clients to get a fair chance” explains Manager of Resettlement and Housing, Fran Olmstead. But everyone needs a place to call “home”, especially those who have lost everything.
“When you come here, it starts at zero.”
— Alykhan Damji
Alykhan Damji is one Waterloo Region landlord making a difference. He understands what it means to be left without a home. Alykhan’s parents were forced to flee from Uganda in 1992. When the Damji’s arrived to Kitchener, they were welcomed and supported by the McIntosh family. “The welcome that existing Canadians offered to my family is something I want to offer to In their own words Work, Language, Success: Building employment pathways through partnership others” he says. “When you come here, it starts at zero” he explains… but a warm welcome can go a long way in easing the transition.
Alykhan is a Franchise Owner-Operator at A&W Canada and for the last 15 years, his family has provided entry-level jobs for immigrants that have a history of displacement as well as equal opportunity housing to newcomers.
When the Alshahoud family from Syria needed a place to live this past March, the Damji’s accomodated them. “I took a leap of faith, but they are great people” he recounts. The Alshahoud’s recall arriving at their new apartment to find flowers, a card and a welcome note assuring them that they could reach out if they needed anything. Alykhan hopes to continue working with Reception House and various settlement organizations in Waterloo Region to help welcome new Canadians settle and thrive.
Thank you Alykhan, for extending a warm welcome! Settlement is a two way street, and you certainly played a big part.