Background of the organization:
Welcome Collective was founded in 2017 in response to the plight of the growing number of refugee claimants in Montreal. The collective supports refugee claimants referred by social workers from hospitals, shelters and other local institutions in getting settled through welcome groups and a Refugee Claimant Volunteer Program (RCVP). Welcome groups provide one-on-one orientation sessions to accompany families for their first eight weeks in Montreal. Once this time has elapsed, families decide if they wish to continue attending the group. Through RCVP, local residents and refugee claimant volunteers distribute goods to newly arrived families in Montréal-Nord, Lasalle and the Côte-des-Neiges area. Refugee claimants who volunteer receive basic furniture, bus passes and coupons for groceries in recognition of their contribution.
When refugees face insurmountable barriers to becoming active members of the broader community, the resulting social isolation foments and contributes to resentment of immigrants in the larger population. In Montreal, the Welcome Collective addresses this issue by engaging local volunteers in connecting refugee claimant families to community services, donating material goods, and fostering social support networks. Since its founding in 2017, the Collective has helped nearly 700 families in four neighbourhoods. It is now expanding its services to other parts of the city. Funds from the Foundation will be used to hire new staff, engage in a communications campaign and conduct an evaluation of the Collective’s activities.
- Social Innovation Fund