The small town in Ontario with a population of 39,000 is providing resources to help immigrants settle.
St. Thomas, a small town in Ontario with a population of 39,000, is struggling to revive its economy after the auto manufacturers that it once depended on left. Now, the St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership hopes that by providing resources to help immigrants settle, the town will attract the entrepenurial spirit that has already helped the community grow and evolve. The organization is part of a grassroots effort organized by the community to welcome newcomers. From Mexican cantinas to Hassib Zabian’s clothing and alterations store in the Elgin mall, the town has benefited from diversity.
Shelley Harris, the director of education and settlement at the St.Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership, admits there are some challenges - but speaking to CBC News, said it will be a long term project, and has hope for the future: "It's a slow process. We're not going to do it overnight — we're looking at a five, ten year plan with truly moving forward to bring the community into a space where everyone is welcome.” Recently, seven families from India bought homes in a new subdivision, and a new influx of immigrants have come from the family sponsorship program.