‘Red-hot’ market reduces rate of re-homed refugees

The ongoing housing crisis is slowing down the rate of refugees settling in Mount Gambier.

The lifting of the COVID-19 travel ban allowed the first new arrivals for two and a half years to settle in the town at the end of May.

This year, in total there have been four families from Iraq and one family from Burma settle in Mount Gambier.

Since the start of the program in 2007, there has also been Karenni, Karen, Congolese and Yazidis migrants move to town.

The Federal Government brings refugees from refugee camps into Mount Gambier through a “very structured settlement program”.

Australian Migrant Resource Centre Mount Gambier manager Anelia Blackie said they cannot just allow migrants to relocate to Mount Gambier if they are going to be homeless.

“There’s this misconception the government hands out houses for free but that is not the case, we have to source rental properties they can afford so it is very difficult,” she said.

“We have some great real estate agents that really support the program but if they do not have stock then they cannot help us.

“We support the clients in all aspects of the settlements to become independent community members so they can learn to do things for themselves and will not be dependent on us or other services.

“It goes without saying refugees bring their culture to the town; they can integrate and still keep their own culture.

“Migrants have been coming here for years, working and making their contribution to the community.”

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