Housing, Key to a Successful Integration

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This fall, FECHIMM is undertaking a project to promote a better integration of newcomers into the different types of social housing (co-ops, NPOs and HLMs). Centre social d’aide aux immigrants (CSAI) is a partner of the Federation in this project.

Launch of the project

FECHIMM invites you to launch the project on Wednesday, December 4th starting at 3 pm at 7595, boul. St-Laurent in Montreal. To attend the launch of the project, please register (FR).

An Inclusive Project: three Objectives

1. Better equip the employees of immigrant support organizations with the tools to access social housing

2. Develop the intercultural skills of employees working for housing rights organizations and prevent discrimination

3. Accompany newcomers during the selection process and during their integration into their new coop environment

Challenges to overcome

Immigration, vital to Montreal's development, brings challenges for both newcomers and the host society. Access to affordable, decent housing is a very important issue, according to Lida Aghasi, Executive Director of CSAI.

“The search for decent housing is a crucial step in the settlement and integration process. Unfortunately, with the lack of housing in Montreal and the growing demands of some landlords, this step is becoming more and more difficult for many newcomers”, she says.

On the photo in the usual order: Nadine Noël, project coordinator (FECHIMM); Martin Savard, Project Manager and Community Partnership (CSAI); Sabrina Mac Gregor, Project Manager (CSAI) and Lida Aghasi, Executive Director of CSAI.

In this context, many New Montrealers face prohibitive rents, substandard housing, discrimination and endless waiting lists for social housing. As a result, four out of ten newcomers spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

The lack of knowledge regarding housing rights, laws and how to access to social and affordable housing disadvantages newcomers. For example, most newcomers do not know that if they cannot obtain subsidized housing before having resided at least 12 months in Québec, they remain eligible for non-subsidized NPO and co-operative housing.

For Marcel Pedneault, the executive director of FECHIMM, , the cooperative movement can contribute to a better integration of immigrants. “By virtue of the values of equality, equity, solidarity and democracy they bring, housing co-operatives are a promising solution to facilitate the integration of newcomers. Many testimonies of residents also confirm that cooperative housing plays a major role in their social and professional integration”.

Marcel Pedneault, Executive director of FECHIMM

The model, however, remains unknown to newcomers and to the publically funded organizations that offer services to new immigrants, according to Lida Aghasi.

“Cooperative or community housing may be an attractive option for some newcomers, but they need to be aware of how and why this type of housing model works and how to access it. We therefore believe that it is essential to give the professionals working with new immigrants as well as housing rights specialists the tools to ensure that these housing models reflect even more the diversity of the population while promoting coexistence”, she says.

A series of actions designed to better equip the employees of organizations that work with new immigrants with the knowledge and skills to accompany newcomers in the quest for social housing. The publication of explanatory documentation specific to each tenure is one of the means selected.

The project also includes interventions to make co-operatives and NPOs ever more inclusive and free from discrimination. “We want to take action to develop the intercultural skills of the employees working for housing rights organizations and to promote a rapprochement essential to a harmonious cohabitation”, explains Marcel Pedneault.

The needs of immigrant housing seekers are a central component to the project. They will be able to benefit from support during the selection process and at the integration stage of a coop application if their efforts are successful. In particular, a mentorship program will ensure a smooth transition.

project funders

Housing, the Key to a Successful Integration project is funded by the Ville de Montréal - Bureau d'intégration des nouveaux arrivants à Montréal (BINAM) and ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration du Québec (MIFI). The project was one of the initiatives retained within the Inclusive Montréal intiative2018-2021, an action plan aimed at making communities, institutions and living environments more inclusive.

Centre social d'aide aux immigrants

The Centre social d’aide aux immigrants (CSAI) is a partner of FECHIMM in this project. The mission of the organization is to support immigrants, regardless of their status, in their efforts towards full integration and active participation in the host society.

For more info

Nadine Noël, project coordinator
Tél. : 514 777-7834