Affordable housing elusive for newcomers

With housing prices at record levels, a University of British Columbia-led study finds that new Canadians are struggling to find adequate and affordable housing in the country’s three largest cities.

The study of 600 immigrants and refugees using settlement services in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal finds that half of those surveyed reported living in crowded dwellings with hazards such as dampness and mould, broken plumbing, insect infestation and inadequate heat.

“While the majority of immigrants to Canada see major improvements in their housing situation over time, for some, housing remains a critical issue for a very long time. For this group, there is a persistent need for affordable housing,” says Hiebert, adding that refugees, temporary residents, single parents, large families and people who do not speak English or French face the greatest challenges. “This goes contrary to the myth that all immigrants do better over time – that they start under difficult circumstances and gradually things get better for them.”