With the increasing number of Syrian refugees (thousands in the past month alone) entering Canada’s shores, private developers are hard at work in creating effective ways to offload the pressure on government settlement agencies.
In tight housing markets like Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, settlement agencies are finding the influx of immigrants—who had larger families than anticipated—unsustainable in the long run. This has led to more and more developers constructing suitable housing solutions at manageable costs for refugees.
The Community Foundation of Canada has already raised $6 million in its drive to create a national fund for immigrant housing. Some owners have even started providing residential spaces at prices lower than market averages.
“We just felt this was the right thing to do,” Concert Properties president and COO Brian McCauley told CBC News
. His company’s two-bedroom units run for $700 per month for a year, far below the $950 benchmark for this housing type.
Industry observers pointed at the immediate need for affordable long-term housing solutions, as immigrants will receive only 12 months of financial support from government, which is on par with social assistance for Canadians.
“You don't set people up in a home they can't afford a year from now,” Canadian Council of Refugees executive director Janet Dench said.
Minister of Citizenship John McCallum reassured the public that any plans finalized between the government and the private sector won’t unduly favor new arrivals over Canadian nationals who have waited years for subsidized housing.