You know, they say its always hard to follow your own advice. Such as, “read the fine print”!
It’s important to realize that in only thirty days your refugee family will have a government loan becoming due. Upon arrival, your family will likely have received a yellow sheet of paper (carbon copy) that provides an estimate of that amount. If you followed our previous instructions on paperwork, that will already be uploaded in Google Docs. Within ten days of their arrival, you are supposed to provide a change of address for your family.
Where do you find all this information?
In the fine print, of course. See this version of the fine print from our family (on the back of the loan document).
Fortunately, when you screw this up (can you imagine what people without private sponsors must struggle with?) you can do your best to sort it out speaking with a real human on the phone.
The kind person who was on the other end of the line at 1-800-667-7301 who deals with government loans for refugees informed me that because of the size of our family’s loan, they have six years to pay it. Unfortunately, they were already in arrears but she assured me that no interest was charged for the first three years on this size of loan. They were also still waiting on final confirmation of the amount – what we had received was actually just an estimate and the source documentation had to arrive from Beirut. Again, the kind person informed me that she would try to dig into this and find out the final amount. Find out the details of the loan payments sooner rather than later!
Our group’s goal was to fund raise enough money to pay off this loan so that they would be able to have a completely fresh start in Canada. We highly recommend if you are private sponsors that you try to do this as well. It will make a world of difference for your family to not have a bill of $100 (or more!) coming in every month for the next six years. It could also greatly impact their credit rating to have overdue payments, which could mean more savings down the road.
Bottom line – put this in your budget right away. It is a significant expense that the family must be immediately used to paying to avoid high interest payments later on.