International students will be arriving soon in Metro Vancouver, but at least 23 of them still do not have a place to stay.
Jodi Andersen, a spokesperson for MLI Homestay, an organization that supports international students, said there is an “urgent need” for hosts in North Vancouver, where they need homes for nine students.
There is also a callout for homestay hosts in Burnaby and Vancouver, where they need to find a combined 14 homes.
While it’s unusual to have a lack of hosts, Andersen said they believe many families might not be aware that the students will be coming because the program had been halted during the pandemic.
“We do feel this is still catch-up from COVID-19,” said Andersen.
“International students are ready and keen to travel and experience homestay and high school in Canada, following everything required to ensure safe arrival into Canada and to their homestay.”
There are students arriving from Germany, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Czech Republic, Italy and Slovakia, who are not yet paired with a host family.
“We are asking these communities to please consider this fun opportunity to open up their home to an international student,” said Andersen.
Students will be arriving end of August and early September to study until December, January or for the full year until June.
Andersen said they are looking mainly for hosts within the catchment of the school where the international students will be studying.
In North Vancouver, they will be attending Argyle Secondary, Carson Graham Secondary, Handsworth Secondary, Seycove Secondary and Sutherland Secondary.
In Burnaby, the high schools include Alpha Secondary, Burnaby South, Cariboo Hill and Moscrop Secondary.
And in Vancouver, hosts are needed near Eric Hamber, Kitsilano Secondary, Point Grey Secondary, Prince of Wales Secondary and Sir Charles Tupper Secondary.
MLI isn’t the only homestay support agency facing a shortage of host families, either. Shannon Griffith of Vancouver Central Homestay says they too are “in dire need of hosts” coming out of the pandemic pause.
“We work with MLI to serve the Vancouver and Burnaby school districts (and) local universities are having the same issues,” Griffith said in an email.
MLI Homestay says it has added extra COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure students arrive safely to their hosts.
Families and visiting students have access to support, said Andersen, and hosts are compensated to help offset expenses, which is tax-free.
Source: Vancouver Sun