By: Ray Silvius, University of Winnipeg
Published in: Winnipeg Free Press
Having fled their home countries to escape violence and war, refugees in Canada find their full inclusion in society delayed, threatened or obstructed. With all due respect to Tom Petty for the lyrical inspiration, it is high time that we ask: when is it that refugees ‘don’t have to live like refugees?’ When do refugees actually stop being refugees?
I research how housing pertains to this topic with the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC). Front-line housing and settlement workers have told me that at one time landlords and public housing managers were recruiting newcomers to live in their buildings. Now, however, new refugees are having difficulty finding housing at all. When they do, it is far too often in overcrowded, substandard and dangerous conditions.