Pathways to Housing: The Experiences of Sponsored Refugees and Refugee Claimants in Accessing Permanent Housing in Toronto

  • Robert A. MurdieEmail author
Research Note


In contrast to many new immigrants, refugees normally have limited financial resources upon arrival in a new country. Consequently, most refugees need some form of assistance in accessing good-quality, safe and affordable housing. This paper evaluates the assumption that refugee claimants in Toronto experience a much more difficult pathway to housing than sponsored refugees. The housing trajectories of a sample of refugees are examined using semi-structured interviews. The results confirm that this sample of refugee claimants experienced a more difficult pathway to housing, at least in the initial stages of settlement. Over time, claimants improved their housing position and narrowed the gap with sponsored refugees.


Sponsored refugees Refugee claimants Housing Housing trajectories Toronto 


Contrairement à beaucoup de nouveaux immigrants, les réfugiés ont généralement des ressources financières limitées à leur arrivée dans un nouveau pays. Par conséquent, la plupart des réfugiés ont besoin d’aide pour accéder à un logement de qualité, sécuritaire et abordable. Cet article examine l’hypothèse selon laquelle les revendicateurs du statut de réfugié à Toronto doivent faire face à plus d’obstacles dans l’obtention d’un logement que les réfugiés parrainés. Les trajectoires résidentielles d’un échantillon de réfugiés ont été examinées par le biais d’entrevues semi-dirigées. Les résultats confirment que l’échantillon de revendicateurs du statut de réfugié ont eu plus de difficultés à se trouver un logement, du moins en ce qui à trait à la période suivant leur arrivée. Avec le temps, les revendicateurs du statut de réfugié ont vu leur situation résidentielle s’améliorer et l’écart avec les réfugiés parrainés diminuer.

Mots clés

Réfugiés parrainés Revendicateurs du statut de réfugié logement Trajectoires résidentielles Toronto 



Financial support for this study was provided by the Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (The Ontario Metropolis Centre). I thank members of the City of Toronto’s Immigrant and Refugee Housing Task Group who assisted in the development of the study and provided feedback, suggestions and assistance in recruiting potential respondents. In particular, I wish to thank Sutama Ghosh, Mohamed Khaled, Priya Kissoon and Lisa Oliveira, who conducted the interviews and assisted with the transcriptions and data analysis. I am also grateful to two anonymous referees for their detailed and helpful comments on an earlier version of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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