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How can I help Syrian refugees coming to Edmonton? Many Edmontonians moved by the plight of Syrian refugees want to help, but aren’t sure how. Below are a number of ways to get involved by volunteering, donating money or items to assist with the resettlement of Syrian families in Edmonton, as well as information about how to offer housing or help with sponsoring a Syrian family. Donate money The Edmonton Mennonite Centre has set up the Syrian Emergency Relief Fund to collect money that will be used to help with settlement needs for Syrians arriving in Edmonton.

All funds will be used to support Syrian refugee families and any donations collected before Dec. 31 will be matched by the federal government’s Syrian Emergency Relief matching fund.Edmonton Catholic Social Services is also collecting donations. To specifically give money to support Syrian refugees, call 780-432-1137. Donate items Volunteer Catholic Social Services is gathering information from people interested in volunteering with Syrian refugees. Offer a residence to rent. Five Whip-Smart Retorts to Common Anti-Refugee Arguments. The Internet can be a frightening place to navigate for someone trying to seek out the truth about Canada's ability to bring refugees in from war-ravaged Syria. "We can't accept refugees with so many of our own homeless! " some fume on Facebook. "Refugees collect more than pensioners! " others trill on Twitter. It seems that social media streams are flooded with such arguments and questionable statistics -- and it's not always easy to know how to respond, as anyone following the story or arguing with a crusty family member at Sunday dinner knows.

But with Canada committed to bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to the country by late February, such arguments aren't going away anytime soon. The Tyee decided to round up some of the foremost experts on the Syrian refugee issue and put some of these arguments to them. We shouldn't take in refugees because we have our own homeless to worry about. Retort by Judy Graves, award-winning Vancouver homeless advocate: This is like Sophie's Choice. Jeremy J. Concerned about Syrian refugees entering Canada? You should read this. - HeadSpaceHeadSpace.

Last Friday, we all watched in terror as hundreds of innocent people enjoying a beautiful start to the weekend in one of the most celebrated cities in the world were gunned down in a terrorist massacre. The normalcy of a Friday night came to a horrific halt in a hail of bullets and bloodshed and I spent the next few hours glued to my Twitter account, as I watched it all unfold in real time. There is something surreal about the way social media and technology can immerse us into every miniscule detail as it emerges, every false rumour, every inspirational or hateful utterance; every heartbreaking image that shakes us to our core. I was far away from it all, yet I was there. I read the devastated messages of people frantically searching for their loved ones and I sobbed for them and for my inability to do anything at all but merely retweet. In my lifetime I have seen planes fly into New York skyscrapers and watched them crumble to the ground, the way bodies buckle under their own weight.

No, Canada doesn’t spend more on refugees than on pensioners. Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe your uncle forwarded it to you or someone you know posted it on Facebook. The meme, infographic, status update, chain email you received is false. It was debunked years ago but continues to be circulated. Canada doesn’t spend more on refugees than on retirees.

Not even close. Some government-assisted refugees get a small monthly amount in their first year in Canada — about $800 for a single person — and a one-time set-up allowance of about $900. But government-assisted refugees are required to pay back the cost of their trip to Canada and their initial medical exam — with interest. Many argue that these “transportation loans” saddle families with thousands of dollars in debt before they’ve even arrived in Canada, making it tougher for them to integrate economically and support themselves — hurting Canada’s economy in the long run. Are there poor seniors in Canada? READ MORE: Are refugees an economic burden? But the myth persists. It drives Janet Dench nuts. Investigating the illegal trade of Indian Star tortoises | World Animal Protection International.

The paper, “A star attraction: the illegal trade of Indian Star Tortoises”, was published in the Nature Conservation journal. It brings to light the frightening scale of the trade of a species not studied for more than a decade. The humble beginnings of a global trade A man wanders through a remote village in India. As he goes he discreetly buys Indian Star tortoises from some of the villagers in the small community. With all the animals available from this village secured in a non-descript rice sack, he moves on to another village, buying more and more tortoises as he goes. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get so close to this man. As for the tortoises in the baskets and sacks, crawling over each other to in a desperate but useless attempt to escape, they’ll remain in darkness until they reach their final destination. Profits and loss The further along the chain you go, the larger the profits get.

Ending the cruel trade The profits to be made off Indian Star tortoises are massive. Taco Bell announces cage-free commitment | US World Animal Protection. Taco Bell has announced that it is switching 100% of its eggs to cage-free by the end of 2016. With this move, the fast-food chain joins the ranks of other popular companies like McDonald's, Panera Bread and General Mills who have recently announced commitments to source cage-free eggs.

Taco Bell boasts the most aggressive timeline for transitioning its egg supply. A testament to the power of consumer voices in the marketplace, more and more companies are demonstrating willingness to change how they source food and the industry is undergoing major transformation. “We welcome today’s cage-free commitment from Taco Bell, which reflects the tremendous positive impact that consumer demand is having for hens," says Priscilla Ma, our US Executive Director. "By setting an aggressive timeline for going 100% cage-free, Taco Bell is also demonstrating the importance of transparency and accountability in cage-free commitments from food businesses. " How Canada is helping Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The Government of Canada remains deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Syria and about the increasing humanitarian needs there and in neighboring countries.

In June 2013, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) issued its first appeal to the international community for assistance in resettling extremely vulnerable Syrian refugees who had urgent protection needs. Through Canada’s Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, refugees will come to Canada supported by the federal government, private sponsors or a mix of both. The government will speed up processing and issue visas to more Syrian refugees by the end of this year. The overall commitment of resettling 10,000 Syrians’ is expected to be met by September 2016 –15 months earlier than planned. Canada’s existing commitment to resettle 23,000 Iraqis has also been met. Visa officers will focus interviews on security, criminality and medical screening. Trudeau: Canada shouldn’t be based on national identity; migration will become the norm | CIJNews English.

Death in Syria. More than 200,000 people have been killed in the four-and-a-half-year Syrian civil war. The constant violence has forced more than four million toflee the country, fueling a refugee crisis in the Middle Eastand Europe. The country is so dangerous that a definitive tallyof deaths is not possible, but several groups are trying todocument how many Syrians have died, and what killed them. Each of these dots represents oneperson who was killed during the conflict. “With each passing day there are fewer safe places in Syria,” PauloSérgio Pinheiro, chairman of the United Nations panel investigatinghuman rights abuses in Syria, wrote in a recent report. “Everydaydecisions — whether to visit a neighbor, to go out to buy bread— have become, potentially, decisions about life and death.”

At least 28,277 civilians have died in shootings and mass killings. Thousands of civilians have been victims of mass shootings and gunfire between government forces and insurgents. March 2011 - August 2015 Areas of ISIS. If you make racist comments on my social media posts, I will treat you like a racist…because it is 2015. | Dramatic Musings. This has been a tough 24 hours in social media. In the same day our province made a commitment to admit and help re-settle 1500 immigrants and refugees, and there was a horrific terror attack in Paris. Many have argued that a humanitarian effort is worthwhile for the refugees who desperately need safe haven. They also find the commitment to be worthwhile as we are a declining, aging, under-educated province desperately in need of an influx of people.

Unfortunately many do not agree. The trouble seems to be that this particular group is brown and in many cases they follow the teachings of Islam. I made the mistake of posting a couple of articles applauding the decision of our province to offer safe haven to 1500 refugees and the comments sections immediately started to fill with a range of negative comments. Standing up for inclusive thinking made for a rough few hours. I can’t help but compare today’s online reaction to the reaction to Irish terrorism in recent decades. Like this: The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees. Migrants wait to register at a refugee center in the southern Serbian town of Presevo on Monday. (Darko Vojinovic/AP) As the Syrian refugee crisis mutated from a regional problem to a global one, security concerns have increasingly been cited as a justification for keeping borders closed and refusing to resettle migrants.

This argument has gathered momentum in the wake of the attacks in Paris on Friday, after a Syrian passport with the name Ahmad al-Mohammad, a 25-year-old born in Idlib province, was found near the body of a suicide bomber. French authorities say fingerprints from the suicide bomber match those of someone who passed through Greece in early October. [Were Syrian refugees involved in the Paris attacks? What we know and don’t know] If one of the Paris attackers really did make his way from the Middle East, through Greece, and into Western Europe, it will raise big questions on the continent about the tens of thousands of other refugees traveling along this route. If you make racist comments on my social media posts, I will treat you like a racist…because it is 2015. | Dramatic Musings. Lick the plate: The ecological and economic costs of food waste. By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Research Scientist Scott Wallace. Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family to appreciate the bounty of the fall harvest.

Eating is both a highly social and personal part of our lives, and food preferences can even make for lively dinner table conversations. In North America we tend to focus on how food is grown and harvested. Consumers face a myriad of labels when they shop for Thanksgiving feasts — organic, free range, cage-free, Marine Stewardship Council, fair trade, non-GMO, vegetarian-fed and locally grown among them. From a sustainability point of view, though, the most important question is missing from these labels: Will this food be eaten or will it end up contributing to the world's growing food-waste problem? Subscribe to Science Matters We're hearing a lot about food waste lately. These figures only account for 29 per cent of the full cost of waste. Why are people homeless. What can I do to help? Homeward Trust offers a number of volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

Our furniture bank, Find, is also always looking for donations of furniture and small appliances (must be in good condition). For further information on how you can help our community members in need, please contact us directly. What is the difference between absolute and sheltered homelessness? “Absolute homelessness” refers to individuals and families who have no housing alternatives. "Sheltered homelessness" refers to individuals and families who are living in emergency accommodations or condemned housing and do not have a permanent place to live. What is affordable housing? Affordable housing refers to lower than average, market owned or rented housing provided to households who earn less than the median income and spend more than 30% of their income on housing. What is long-term supportive housing?

What is transitional housing? What is emergency housing? Where are the shelters in Edmonton? Definitions of Homelessness - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta. Absolute: Those living on the street with no physical shelter of their own, including those who spend their nights in emergency shelters. At-Risk of Homelessness: A person or family that is experiencing difficulty maintaining their housing and has no alternatives for obtaining subsequent housing.

Circumstances that often contribute to becoming at-risk of homelessness include: eviction, loss of income, unaffordable increase in the cost of housing, discharge from an institution without subsequent housing in place, irreparable damage or deterioration to residences, and fleeing from family violence. Chronic: Those who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. In order to be considered chronically homeless, a person must have been sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation (e.g., living on the streets) and/or in an emergency homeless shelter. 24/7 Rescue Van | Hope Mission. How the Van is Helping “I knew this project would be a great option for everyone. Not only does it relieve pressure on emergency personnel, it also gets proper help to individuals who need it.

We were ultimately looking to be more efficient and utilize our resources. We want to police smarter – not harder.” – Constable Ashley Emerson of the Edmonton Police Service“This project fits exactly with what Hope Mission does. We are helping the down and out and at the same time freeing up ambulances to deal with emergencies.” – Hope Mission Executive Director Bruce Reith“I am very impressed and excited by this van. How the Van is Dispatched Our Rescue Van will be dispatched by the EPS or EMS as required. Find a Shelter - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta. Homeless persons and families can access emergency shelters across Alberta. There are three types of shelter accommodation: Emergency Shelters: means overnight accommodation to individuals who have no permanent address.

Short-Term Supportive Housing: means temporary housing with support to assist client movement into permanent housing. Long-Term Supportive Housing: means unlimited stay at a facility that provides 24/7 support to its residents. In the 2011-12 fiscal year, the province committed $38.5 million to support agencies providing shelter spaces. Shelter space usage has gone down in all major cities in Alberta and there will be a reduced need for emergency shelter spaces as more and more homeless people are provided with permanent housing. Providing Shelter & Housing | Hope Mission.