According to the officials in Winnipeg, the housing crunch of the city is forcing some of the immigrants to move into bug-infested apartments in neighborhood that are plagued by gangs.
The officials believe that in order to allure more immigrants in the city, more supportive homes are needed.
The executive director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Noelle DePape, said that an increased number of operations like IRCOM House are needed.
DePape said that the other options that the newcomers are left with are very weak, like rundown apartments in an unsafe neighborhood. He added that people are people are willing to move because the place in not safe to raise children and often the environment in unhealthy. And add to this that there are gangs; it becomes an even worse place.
Ahlam Jasim is looking to move out of the place with her two adolescent sons. The Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute case worker is also assisting another woman and her family who are currently living in misery.
Jasim said that gang members have taken to lolling about the entrance of their apartment block throughout the day and whole night as well. She had complained about this numerous times but every time she is told that nothing can be done. The condition is very pity and it is like a case of beggars can’t be choosers.
Michelle Strain, a program supervisor with the Salvation Army’s life and employability enhancement program, said that he has heard that people sleep in the hallways of apartment buildings. She said that it is very overwhelming for people and when to get a house then it is not safe.
At present, the province gets funding from the federal government for providing language and job-hunting skills for refugees, but they get nothing for ensuring them proper housing facilities.
An assistant deputy minister with the Manitoba Labour and Immigration, Ben Rempel said that if one of the basic human needs: which is safe shelter, is not met properly then it is really tough to even think about learning a second language or hunting for a job. Rempel added that the situation alarming because affordable housing attracts and retains people in the people.
Rempel said that they have been trying to encourage their counterparts to include other elements of immigration strategy in their thinking. He concluded that there are some concerns and are needed to be solved as soon as possible.