Randy Dhillon, Mainstreet

Calgary-based rental company to welcome Syrian refugees

Expected to open 200 units across Western Canada

Calgary-based Mainstreet Equity Corp., which specializes in mid-market apartment building in Western Canada, announced Wednesday that it will allocate at least 200 apartment units to house Syrian refugees expected to come to the country this year and next.

The apartments will reportedly be located in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Surrey, B.C., Abbotsford, B.C., and New Westminster, B.C.

Details of how many apartments will be allocated in Calgary were not yet available.

“As an immigrant to Canada, and an apartment owner, I felt compelled to do this for the refugees as they embark on the road to better lives in our beloved country,” said Mainstreet CEO Bob Dhillon, whose family immigrated to Canada, from war-torn Liberia, when he was a small boy in the 1970s.

“I firmly believe gestures like this ultimately help not only the people in need but, as Prime Minister Trudeau has said, we also contribute to the economic growth of Canada by supporting these families who, as workers, will help to build the economy. Immigrants are absolutely essential to build the fabric of the new Canada and to keep Canada globally competitive as a nation.”

Dhillon said the refugees would likely be able to take advantage of a rental discount that could come in the form of an upfront rent-free period or discounted rent for a period of time.

Earlier this month, the federal government announced plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada this year. Since then, Immigration and Refugees Minister John McCallum said his government would not be able to meet its deadline, instead expecting 10,000 to land by Dec. 31, an additional 15,000 in January and February and at least 10,000 more later in 2016..

Dhillon noted that Mainstreet has a successful record of accommodating refugees in its buildings, including people from Bhutanand Burma.

“We have been talking about this at Mainstreet for a while now and trying to figure out how best to help our nation,” he said. “When we heard Minister McCallum’s remarks, we knew the answer. Accommodations in the mid-market is our wheel house,” said Dhillon.

“I want to thank Minister McCallum for his department’s guidance, counsel and prompt response to our offer. I have no doubt that, with help from provincial governments, the private sector and charities across the country, they will meet the deadline and make 2016 a very happy new year for many new Canadians.”

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