The vision of New Journey Housing is to reduce the challenges newcomers to Canada face as they seek to attain and retain decent affordable housing in Winnipeg. We believe that newcomers should have the same access to housing as any other established resident of Winnipeg, and that as newcomers settle into a good home, they are setting a stronger foundation for themselves.
New Journey Housing provides resources to train, assist, and support newcomers to Canada, and those who support them, through the process of attaining and retaining decent affordable housing in Winnipeg.
New Journey Housing: Resource Centre for Newcomer Housing is a non-profit organization established to assist and train newcomers as they search for decent, affordable housing.
Basic Goals of New Journey Housing
- Assist newcomers seeking to find housing
- Educate newcomers, Landlords, Caretakers and the public on issues related to newcomer housing
- Link landlords and tenants
- Guide newcomers and Landlords in the rental process
- Partner with other housing initiatives and supportive agencies in assisting newcomers to settle well in Manitoba and work towards their housing goals.
- Advocate on behalf of newcomers
New Journey Housing
There is a well documented problem of inadequate or sub-standard housing for all kinds of newcomers to Manitoba (Provincial Nominees, Government Sponsored Refugees, Refugee Claimants and Private Sponsored refugees). Since most Manitoba-based newcomers settle in Winnipeg, the housing problem is most noticeable here. For the most part, these problems have not yet been adequately addressed. Although the Province has an aggressive immigration policy, its housing plans have not kept pace. Vacancy rates in Winnipeg are about 1% and some are already speaking of a housing crisis. Newcomers are stuck in the middle of this mess.
The main problem seems to lie in the size and affordability of housing for those of (usually) low incomes. There are also problems of desirable location and availability: Winnipeg simply doesn't have enough low-cost rental housing for larger families (as many newcomers are). Families are forced to take anything they can for shelter, with the expected negative social impact on their families and communities.
Another well documented contributing factor is that there is presently no centralised place for all newcomers (regardless of how or when they arrived) to access assistance and information about housing in Winnipeg. Although there are several Government-funded Settlement organizations for newcomers, none of them offer a centralised location for all newcomers to access information, and what they do offer is limited. Consequently, most newcomers are not aware of where to turn or even what their housing options are.
The following is a summary of the general situation which newcomers face in their search for housing in Winnipeg:
- Little choice in Housing
- Lack of understanding of the different options available
Newcomers must know of the different options and Government supports, before they can make use of them. Then, they must locate the specific offices, and go through the various application processes. It can be exhausting and confusing.
- A lack of knowledge of the different neighbourhoods in Winnipeg
This includes misinformation and misunderstanding regarding the neighbourhoods, local services and what they have to offer.
- Problems with communication
Newcomers with limited English skills (written and oral) are at a disadvantage in accessing the usual forms to search for housing such as "The Renters Guide" or internet rental search sites.
- Financial Stresses:
Many (but not all) newcomers experience financial stress for at least a few years after arrival in Manitoba. They are therefore often considered low income, which limits their options. Those spending more than 30% of their income on housing are considered "at risk".
- Newcomers often make several moves before they are truly settled.
Often this involves accessing different housing options over a period of time. For example, a newcomer might move from a subsidized rental to a private rental to home ownership, or from a core area rental to a suburban Winnipeg rental.
- The need for a "guarantor" or "co-signer"
This can be a difficult requirement for many newcomers, particularly when renting for the first time.
- Lack of experience in Renting or owning a home in Manitoba
The processes and rules involved can be very complicated, even for established Canadians. There is much to learn concerning tenant's rights and responsibilities, pest control and cleanliness, financial systems and obligations, maintaining a home, etc.
- Private Sponsorship Groups
Many private sponsors (ethnic groups, faith based groups and families) are feeling overwhelmed with the task of finding housing for the people they sponsor to come to Canada.
- Manitoba's Immigration Plan
Manitoba has an aggressive immigration plan over the next 8 years. 12,000 newcomers are expected to arrive in Manitoba in 2009. Many of these people will want to settle in Winnipeg.
New Journey Housing was established in order to help with this current situation. There is a need to make the available stock of affordable, decent housing more accessible to newcomers. New Journey Housing seeks to be a centralized location-a one stop destination-- where newcomers can go to find the help and information they need to make good housing choices. Newcomers will be given tools to find and retain housing. The proposed clientele would include newcomers who are low income, as well as those who are ready and able to move towards options such as home ownership.