Friday forum looks at housing barriers for new immigrants in Kelowna

At Friday morning's UBC Okanagan Housing Forum, human geographer Carlos Teixeira will his present his recent study on the barriers faced by immigrants seeking rental housing in Kelowna. (Photo by Tim Swanky)

A forum at UBC Okanagan this Friday will bring together panelists from government, community organizations and the university to discuss the housing barriers facing new immigrants in Kelowna.

"The successful integration of immigrants into a new society is based on their attainment of several basic needs, including access to adequate, suitable and affordable housing," says presenter Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor or Human Geography. "While this has long been a concern in Canadian cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, it is also increasingly an issue in growing mid-size cities such as Kelowna."

In September, Teixeira published a paper in The Canadian Geographer that indicates immigrants searching for rental housing in Kelowna met with significant barriers in finding affordable housing. Among the barriers cited were high housing costs, lack of reliable housing information, and prejudice by landlords based on the immigrants' ethnic and racial background.

"Kelowna's real estate market is one of the most expensive in Canada, but there is little published data or literature on the housing experiences of immigrants in the city," says Teixeira.

He points out the need for more comparative studies on the housing experiences of immigrants in mid-sized cities in Canada, to better understand which groups of immigrants are more successful than others in finding affordable housing in these mid-sized cities, and why.

The forum this Friday is free and open to the public. It will be chaired by Mary Ann Murphy, Associate Professor with a cross-appointment on aging, in Social Work and Sociology. Panelists joining the discussion include:

  • Woody Cross, Economic Development Commission
  • Bill Downie, Kelowna Community Resources
  • Theresa Eichler, City of Kelowna
  • Ron Mattiussi, City of Kelowna
  • Elizabeth McLeod, Kelowna Community Resources
  • Dave Smith, Planning and Development Services, District of Peachland
  • Dixon Sookraj, UBC Okanagan School of Social Work
  • Luke Stack, Society of Hope

The forum is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in UBC Okanagan Arts building Room ART106. Visitor parking will be available in Lot H.

For more information, contact Carlos Teixeira at 250-807-9313 or email carlos.teixeira@ubc.ca.

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