Good housing is critical to the successful settlement of former refugees. This is the key finding of the major study Putting Home at the Heart of Refugee Resettlement recently published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) – Manitoba in partnership with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg. The co-authors include UWinnipeg’s Dr. Ray Silvius, a political scientist and UWinnipeg alumni, Emily Halldorson, a community planner and researcher, and Hani Ataan Al-Ubeady, a community activist.
The report is the culmination of a five-year study based on interviews with recently arrived former refugees.
The research brings into focus the need for adequate housing in Winnipeg and how it positively contributes to the multitude of settlement needs in the first years after arrival.
Dr. Ray Silvius
A tight rental housing market, insufficient financial support, and limited supply of public housing means many are barely making ends meet, making resettlement challenging.
“Canada’s commitment to former refugees can go beyond humanitarianism to ensure that quality, affordable housing is at the heart of their resettlement journey,” said Silvius. “The research brings into focus the need for adequate housing in Winnipeg and how it positively contributes to the multitude of settlement needs in the first years after arrival.”
The research team interviewed government assisted refugees (GARs) and Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) to understand how their housing situation changed in the years after resettlement. The in-depth interviews bring to light new concepts in the subject area: the deluge of resettlement, the resettlement conundrum, and impossible tradeoffs.
The stories of refugees are shared in detail in the report, and commonalities signal that more must be done to ensure acceptable housing is available in Winnipeg.
This research contributes to ongoing calls for investments in public housing, updating shelter rates regularly to reflect local rental realities, and improving relationships between the refugee-serving sector, housing providers, and the Residential Tenancies Branch.
The report is here at CCPA – Manitoba.
About the authors
Silvius is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Winnipeg. His research interests include refugee settlement and community-engaged research. He is the lead of the Community Engaged Research on Immigration Network (CERI Network).
Halldorson is a community planner and researcher. Her diverse research interests arise from her community development work and include housing, education, criminal justice, immigration and settlement, and the environment. The common thread is a commitment to research which supports the hard work of non-profits and activists advocating for social change.
Ataan Al-Ubeady is the project director for Immigration Partnership Winnipeg whose mandate and vision is to create a welcoming and inclusive community where Indigenous and newcomers can fully participate. He has been a community activist for nearly 20 years. His goal is to remove barriers on the path to creating a welcoming community for all and deconstruct negative narratives around newcomers and Indigenous communities. He is a Cross-Cultural Mental Health Specialist and community-based research director.