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'They have nothing,' says group seeking help for Iranian refugee family

A Coquitlam church group seeks rental apartment and household belongings for a refugee couple from Iran and their young son.
Helping Hands Getty Photo
A group called the Caring Network is finding a home and household belongings for an Iranian family.

Finding a place to rent is tough in the current market, but that hasn’t stopped a Coquitlam church from looking for a home for an Iranian refugee family.

A group called the Caring Network with Northside Church is seeking a two-bedroom or one bedroom and den rental in the Tri-Cities.

According to Roxana Smith, the rental suite can cost between to $2,000 and $2,300. 

That’s in line with average rents in the area, which are about $1,975 for a one bedroom apartment in the Coquitlam area, according to Zumper.com.

The problem is the couple who is fleeing Iran on religious grounds is arriving with a two-year-old child on Oct. 11.

That's a short timeline for the church that has agreed to sponsor the family.

"They have nothing," said Smith, who said she is also looking for other help for the family, which could include household goods.

Smith said she may have a possible place to rent but it has to be inspected.

In the meantime, she said, the Caring Network is ready to assist the family in any way.

"We got this request just this week so I’m trying to connect people and get involved with whoever wants to help out," she said.

People who wish to help out are encouraged to contact the group via email.

Smith said the Caring Network is a group of women who help "where ever there's a need."

Hospital visits, providing emotional support over the phone are among the ways they help others, she said.

Group offers emotional support

"Nothing religious. It's absolutely offering presence, just listening and supporting them emotionally until they are recovered."

Smith said she joined the group 11 years ago after recovering from emergency surgery. 

At the time, she said, she was alone at Royal Columbian Hospital and felt sad and anxious.

"I never want anyone to feel the way I felt," she said.

In the meantime, she said, she's looking forward to meeting the family and getting to know their story.

Global protest against Iranian government

The family's arrival comes as many Lower Mainland Iranians are concerned about the government of Iran and the way it treated a woman, who died while in custody for not wearing her headscarf properly.

On Sunday (Sept. 25), demonstrators flooded Vancouver's streets to protest the death of a young Iranian woman by the regime's morality police. 

A global day of protest is planned for Oct. 1, with a Vancouver event expected to take place.

— with a file from Elana Shephert, Vancouver Is Awesome.

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