2.C Settlement and Integration
C.2 What arrangements are made for housing?
(i) What arrangements need to be made for initial housing upon refugees’ arrival?
How Canada Does It
Sponsors arrange temporary accommodation for refugees upon arrival. Temporary accommodation may include a sponsor/community member’s home, staying with family members, an unused apartment, or a short-term rental. Sponsors should begin looking for permanent accommodation as soon as possible after the sponsored refugees arrive.
While government-resettled refugees may sometimes be hosted in short-term shelters, it is expected that sponsors find private residences for new arrivals. Given uncertainties surrounding processing times and the timing of travel arrangements, sponsors should wait until the sponsored refugees arrive in Canada before securing permanent housing for them. Temporary accommodations should include adequate space and internet access to facilitate communication with family and friends abroad. Sponsors should purchase ethnically appropriate foods for the family to feel at home in their temporary accommodations.
If refugees have family members in Canada, they often choose to live with them initially and transition to separate permanent accommodations once they have gotten their bearings.
Refugees also require proof of address shortly after arrival to access social services. Sponsors can make use of short-term rental agreements where appropriate to establish proof of address.
While sponsoring groups are ultimately responsible for finding adequate housing for sponsored refugees, they may reach out to a number of organizations that coordinate matching between Canadians who offer spaces in their homes on a volunteer basis or at a reduced rental rate for short-term housing for newly arrived refugees. Sponsors and sponsored refugees can benefit from the assistance of settlement or housing counsellors based in settlement agencies. Sponsors and sponsored refugees can also contact organizations like Roofs for Refugees to secure temporary housing while seeking permanent accommodation for the sponsored refugees. Roofs for Refugees allows community members to offer their homes or spaces in their homes to refugees at reduced rates. Spaces are registered online and Roofs for Refugees works with local settlement agencies to match refugees with appropriate hosts. This is another example of ways communities can engage in welcoming refugees beyond sponsorship.