George and Cocoa have found a home to rent in Langley.

Grateful George no longer car-bound

Turned away at U.S. border, ‘good people’ of White Rock and South Surrey offer help

Things are looking up for an Ontario man who, earlier this spring, had been living in his car in White Rock after being denied entry into the United States.

Soon after a story appeared in Peace Arch News in early May, 45-year-old George – who asked that his last name be withheld – received an offer to park his vehicle, in which he was living with his poodle, at the White Rock Elks Hall.

Now, after a few weeks there, George has moved into a basement suite in Langley, and says “things are going better.”

“The Elks have been a tremendous help and have welcomed me throughout the roughest days,” he said, adding that a local carpenter, named Don, also contacted him “and has been looking out for me.”

“There are some very good people in the community of White Rock.”

He said he would have liked to stay in White Rock but, of the limited number of apartments available, none were within his price range.

Prior to arriving on the Peninsula, George – a software developer – had been staying in Seattle with his girlfriend and her son. After accepting a contract position in Columbus, Ohio, he returned to Canada in order to sort out his visa paperwork.

However, when he tried to return to the U.S., George – who has children and an ex-wife in Ontario and had worked in the U.S. before – was denied entry, as border officials questioned the legitimacy of his new job and a few missing details in his paperwork.

He’s been in Canada since, with limited money and possessions. He was forced to apply for social assistance, and said at the time that the situation “basically ruined our lives.”

Now, however, he has settled into his new living quarters, and continues to look for work. He’s been through a handful of job interviews – getting to the second round of interviews twice – but so far has not been hired.

“Unfortunately, neither has panned out, so I continue to search,” he said.

“I make a little more progress each day, and I know that I will eventually get back on my feet 100 per cent.”

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