2.C Settlement and Integration
C.2 What arrangements are made for housing?
(ii) What arrangements need to be made for permanent housing after refugees’ arrival?
How Canada Does It
Sponsors should research housing options before the refugees arrive in Canada but refrain from securing permanent housing until after arrival. Permanent accommodations must be safe and accommodate the number of occupants and their needs, including accessing necessary services such as language classes, schools, and transportation networks. Housing must be close enough to the sponsors for them to be able to easily provide in-person support where needed.
Sponsors should research housing options before the sponsored refugees arrive in Canada. However, given the uncertainties surrounding processing times and the timing of travel arrangements, sponsors should wait until refugees arrive before securing permanent housing.
Shortly after the refugees’ arrival, sponsors should manage refugees’ housing expectations by discussing the reality of housing costs in the place of resettlement, especially in cities. Sponsors should remember that their role is to assist refugees in becoming self-sufficient and integrate into Canadian society while respecting the refugees’ rights to respect and autonomy. Sponsors should explain the refugees’ budget for twelve months and the living costs in their community of resettlement, but allow the refugees to ultimately decide how to use the financial assistance provided.
The refugee family should aim to sign the lease and be directly responsible for paying rent. Since newly arrived refugees are unlikely to have stable employment, sponsors may co-sign rental agreements or provide a letter to demonstrate proof of income for one year to assist refugees in signing leases.
Sponsors must also assist with utility, phone, internet, and tenant insurance arrangements. They should explain the refugees’ rights and obligations as tenants.
Sponsors must provide all the furnishings and other necessities for the refugees’ new home, and help refugees move in. Sponsors often collect donations of furniture and other household items as they prepare for the refugees’ arrival. There are also many furniture banks across Canada that provide gently used furniture to families in need at little or no cost.