Non-profit connecting refugees to homeowners offering up spare rooms

Refugee Housing Canada is pairing refugees in need of housing with homeowners who have rooms to spare. Videographer Audra Brown with how the program is offering safe and secure homes during their transition to life in Canada.

A non-profit is working to connect homeowners who have extra space available with newly-arrived refugees.

“It’s best for them to get a good start when they come to this country. And because pretty much we’re supposed to do this, we’re supposed to help one another,” said Mary Lou Lofranco.

Lofranco is one of several homeowners who have signed up to help refugees who need a place to live through Refugee Housing Canada, an initiative aimed at providing refugees with a safe and secure home during their transition to life in Canada,

“A minimum of a one month commitment, we recommend 3 to 6 months,” said Nikolai Myhre with Refugee Housing Canada.

“We are fully aware that there is a housing crisis in Toronto in Canada, more broadly and it’s proportionately affecting people who have fled to Canada seeking refuge,” Latoya Nugent, with Rainbow Railroad.

Rainbow Railroad helps 2SLGBTQ+ people escape state-sponsored violence. Nugent said they are very supportive of this program, which they say is a solution that benefits both parties as rent is still charged.

“It would be in the region of 500 to $1500 per month depending on the amenities that are available,” said Nugent about the cost of the program to refugees.

Affordable housing can be a challenge for refugees. Some churches and organizations have been forced to step up in the meantime so asylum seekers who just arrived in Canada aren’t forced to sleep on the streets.

The goal of this program is to connect refugees with homeowners who have spare rooms in their homes and are willing to rent for below market prices.

With safety in mind, both sides are vetted before a match is made.

“And I’m not nervous about that at all. The refugees are coming through settlement services and if there are any really big issues with the individual, the settlement services people, I’m confident would, would flag that,” said Lofranco.

Myhre said there are currently 400 refugee partners waiting to be paired with host families currently.

“We need far more hosts to sign up for the service. As many can probably imagine, the demand for housing, there’s no shortage in that regard,” said Myhre.

If you have a home and would be willing to accommodate, you can head to their website for more information.

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