Ron Rosell says sponsoring two refugee couples has changed his life.
The software developer, who came from a family of Holocaust survivors, says he sees what’s happening in Syria “with the barrel bombs dropped on schools and hospitals as a type of Holocaust.”
READ MORE: Syrian refugees: How you can help
The new Liberal government is delivering on its promise of bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year. About 2,700 of those refugees are expected to come to B.C. with the majority of the people coming to Metro Vancouver.
British Columbians are being asked to help and people like Rosell, who last year spent close to $80,000 sponsoring two couples says if you can help, do it. But he also points out that people should know what they’re getting into. He cautions anyone with only a spare bedroom from going all in.
It’s not just about providing a bed, he says.
“The four people who I helped bring in, the first thing we did was get them their own homes. I think that’s something important. I know they’re looking for people to provide a free room in a house but that should be seen as transitional.”
READ MORE: Syrian families eager to build a life in Metro Vancouver
As of Tuesday, 92 people had offered up housing and 168 people offered to volunteer their time. Many British Columbians want to help but online, the narrative is a little different with comments like, “why not deal with the homeless people we have in our country first.”
He answers that comment by simply saying “it’s not a zero sum game.”
For Rosell with the financial means to help, the experience has been incredibly rewarding. He has become friends with the refugees he sponsored and is planning to sponsor 11 more.
~ with files from Jordan Armstrong