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DARTMOUTH, NS: Syrian family gets $ 9,000 for furniture, spends $3,000 on beds

Syrian refugee family in Dartmouth struggles on $1,350 a month

Family of 8 uses money earmarked for furniture to pay day-to-day bills

By Jean Laroche, CBC News Posted: Mar 09, 2016 5:14 PM AT Last Updated: Mar 09, 2016 5:28 PM AT

Waleed Alghdyan, his wife Amnah and their six children arrived in Nova Scotia on Jan. 19. He's pictured here with his three youngest children.

Waleed Alghdyan, his wife Amnah and their six children arrived in Nova Scotia on Jan. 19. He’s pictured here with his three youngest children. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

Photo of Jean Laroche

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A Syrian refugee now living with his family in Dartmouth is grateful for all the help they’re receiving, but says they’re struggling because living in Canada is far more expensive than he thought.

Waleed Alghdyan, a one-time construction worker, came to Nova Scotia with his wife Amnah and their six children on Jan. 19. They’re among the 694 government-sponsored refugees now living in the province.

The family is glad to be in Canada and out of the refugee camp in Jordan where they lived for more than two and a half years, and where their youngest son was born.

Alghdyan says his family has received support from the government, the local immigrant settlement organization and neighbours, but the reality has been harsh.

“We were expecting something better than this,” Alghdyan told CBC News through an interpreter. “Expectations didn’t meet reality.”

The family was given $9,000 to buy furniture to outfit their home and provide them with the essentials needed to cook and look after basic supplies. But after spending $3,000 to make sure everyone had a bed to sleep in, the family put the brakes on further purchases.

“If we were to spend all that money on furniture and supplying appliances and stuff for the house, we wouldn’t have money to buy food and buy other essentials,” Alghdyan said through the interpreter.

$1,350 a month

Like other government-sponsored refugees with families of a similar size, the Alghdyans gets a monthly living allowance of $1,350.

The eight-member family is living in a three-bedroom house where the rent is $1,100 a month. The family’s cable, phone and internet bundle costs $114 more.

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CIR

What kind of beds did they buy?

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