Ashley Chalmers, with Remax Treeland Realty, Ty Corsie of Valley Pacific Realty, Matthew Rufh with Royal LePage Wolsencraft, and Emma Stewart, with Remax Treeland Realty, competed in the tournament. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance)

Langley realtor uses Monopoly tournament to add to refugee group’s community chest

A fundraising tournament could be the start of an annual tradition.

Area realtors were tossing around some pretty big wads of pink, blue and green bills in their quest to win at a charity Monopoly tournament Thursday.

David Smith, of David Smith Homes with Royal LePage Wolstencroft, organized the tournament which seemed a natural fit – people who deal in property every day and a board game based on buying and selling property.

He came up with the idea for the tournament after an eye-opening encounter.

“A little while back I was playing Monopoly with my 13-year-old sister and I lost. And I thought as a professional realtor I should be pretty good at Monopoly but I wasn’t,” he chuckled.

The first tournament was held upstairs at the Trading Post Brewery in Willowbrook and raised more than $2,000.

“I want to make it annual. It’s good fun,” he said.

The fun is in aid of helping people who have been forced to flee their homelands to have safe, affordable housing as they adjust to life in Canada. Proceeds are going to New Hope Community Services Society. Smith contacted the organization about the tournament fundraiser.

“He said, ‘I’ve got some realtors who have way too much money and they need to give it away at Christmas,” New Hope executive director Jamey McDonald joked. “Realtors and Monopoly helping people get into better houses.”

McDonald explained that New Hope doesn’t try to be everything to everyone but ensures refugees have housing and connects them with existing agencies in the community for such things as ESL training.

He noted that the residents must meet certain requirements, including paying rent (less than market value), taking English language training to make their lives easier here, and looking for work.

“We are a registered charity,” McDonald explained. “We specialize in providing housing and settlement services for incoming refugee families to the Lower Mainland. Since 2005 we have helped over 500 families who have arrived with ‘nothing’ to find their feet, get on their feet, and get moving. Families can live in one of our properties for up to 24 months in a clean, safe, affordable, furnished space where they can get settled. In January 2016 we branched into Surrey when we purchased a 13-unit apartment building where we have created a residential community approach to settlement. In 2018 we are looking for a second apartment building as the need for housing for arriving refugee families has not abated.”

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