The Humboldt Regional Newcomer Centre is embarking on the next phase of regional support to new arrivals to the region. The organization is forming a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) and has engaged a number of stakeholders to participate. Such partnerships are in play in other parts of the province, and the HRNC has become the latest with the hiring of its coordinator, Eilish McAnally.
“The main idea is to get organizations to collaborate and communicate in order to help come up with strategic plans and fill in the gaps in services for newcomers,” McAnally explained at an organizational meeting held on June 16. “This will help for their transition to become smoother.”
Organizations supporting newcomers have often operated using a “gateway” model where they refer clients to specific agencies for targeted needs. Increasingly, the Newcomers Centre has identified service gaps and has worked hard to fill those. One example is its highly successful Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program that has gone into schools to help children find a caring and supportive environment.
The LIP will further draw on the expertise of regional businesses, service agencies, educational institutions and others to meet whatever needs come through the door. Executive Director Janine Hart says some of those needs are fundamental, like shelter and food. Others have higher order needs like credential recognition for employment.
Another target for the new program is to establish an entity for newcomers and Indigenous people to work together.
“We want to create an IIAT which is an Indigenous / Immigrant Advisory Table. That will be a safe space for Indigenous people and immigrants to talk about the concerns and issues that they have faced as newcomers in the Humboldt region.”
The ultimate vision is to have passionate people commit to supporting integration in the communities. This requires more avenues for communication and collaboration. The goals include to host additional meetings throughout the year, to host a welcome LIP event, and to continue to identify strategic partners to assist in achieving those goals.
The Newcomer Centre looks forward to seeing all Humboldt residents at its Multicultural Celebration slated for Water Ridge Park on Canada Day. A wide array of Indigenous and immigrant entertainment and speakers will be on hand.