RESETTLING in a new community can be a difficult process for refugees but now it will be a little easier for the city’s new residents, with Settlement Services International (SSI) officially opening its new office doors.
The not-profit organisation is providing settlement support to refugees arriving in the city as part of the federal government’s initiative to establish resettlement hubs in regional Australia.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce was on hand to officially open the new office on Beardy Street on Thursday.
Mr Joyce praised the community for its welcoming spirit for the new residents.
“I was so proud of our electorate and the city of Armidale when these discussions started in Canberra and people were arguing about how they didn’t want refugees in their electorate but we, the New England, were arguing how we did,” he said. “The city of Armidale is doing something about this. We are welcoming these people and making our home, their home.
“I’m positive the Armidale community will welcome the new residents with open arms.”
The new facility will offer a range of services to refugees and asylum seekers including supporting people in finding employment, housing and navigating the language barrier. Already 15 Yazidi families have arrived in the city and are at various stages of the settlement process in accordance with the government’s Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), which is administered in the region by SSI. Speaking on behalf of SSI chief executive Violet Roumeliotis, HSP regional coordinator Helen Larkin praised the community for the compassion and conviction in cementing Armidale as a refugee resettlement area.
She said her colleagues had spoken highly of Armidale’s energised and well-organised civil society organisations. “SSI knows that effective settlement happens where there is an integrated approach from the service providers and the broader community,” Ms Larkin said.
“This is what will ensure that people have a sense of belonging and wellbeing very quickly.”