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"Sorry, already rented" : a case study of the housing experiences of immigrant women in the mid-size… Karl, Francisca 2013

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“Sorry, already rented”: A case study of the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in the mid-size city of Kelowna by Francisca Karl B.A., The University of British Columbia, 2011  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in The College of Graduate Studies (Interdisciplinary Studies)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Okanagan)  March 2013  © Francisca Karl, 2013  Abstract Upon arrival in Canada, immigrants, particularly immigrant women, are often faced with many different challenges, one of which is that of securing affordable housing. This challenge may be even more daunting for newcomers to those smaller and mid-size cities in Canada where housing costs are high and there are few long-established immigrant communities. Since very little research has been conducted on the settlement experiences of immigrant women in such cities, the purpose of this study is to examine the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in the mid-size city of Kelowna, the heart of the Okanagan Valley. More specifically, it focuses on the barriers and challenges immigrant women face when trying to find housing in one of Canada’s most expensive rental housing markets. Also examined are the strategies employed by these immigrant women in order to overcome the barriers and challenges faced in Kelowna’s rental market. Lastly this paper makes recommendations on how immigrant women’s rental housing situation can be improved. The data for this study was collected through a survey of the experiences of 32 immigrant women living in the city of Kelowna. The design of the self-administered questionnaire focused on the respondents’ rental housing experiences and the challenges and barriers they faced when looking for housing. Additional information for this study was collected by semi-structured interviews with 11 key informants who were community leaders or had expertise in settlement, housing, and government services in the city of Kelowna. The results from this study indicate that immigrant women residing in the City of Kelowna face major barriers and issues in their settlement journey to the Okanagan Valley, the rental housing search process, and their ability to afford housing. The main issues that arose from this study were rental housing affordability, low income levels, unemployment, a mismatch !  ii!  between their education level and job opportunities, lack of support from social services or community organizations, and discrimination. These barriers and challenges often resulted in unproductive rental housing searches and low levels of adequate housing attainment. This study expands on the existing body of literature by emphasizing the importance of gender in the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in a mid-size city. This study adds to the literature on the housing difficulties faced by immigrant women in the rental sector. This study concludes that there is a need for more affordable housing and immigrant settlement services to incorporate all the different ethnic groups moving to Kelowna, along with a need for a more open and welcoming community in order to help minimize or eliminate the barriers and challenges faced by newcomer women.  !  iii!  Table of Contents Abstract(...............................................................................................................................................(ii( Table(of(Contents(................................................................................................................................(iv( List(of(Tables(......................................................................................................................................(vii( List(of(Figures(....................................................................................................................................(viii( Acknowledgements(............................................................................................................................(ix( Dedication(...........................................................................................................................................(x( Chapter(1:(Introduction(........................................................................................................................(1! 1.1!  Background!..................................................................................................................................!1!  1.2!  Immigration!to!Kelowna!..............................................................................................................!3!  1.2.1!  Immigrant!women!Canada.!.................................................................................................!4!  1.3!  The!Purpose!of!the!Study!and!Research!Questions!.....................................................................!6!  1.4!  Thesis!Structure!...........................................................................................................................!8!  Chapter(2:(Literature(Review!......................................................................................................................!9! 2.1!  An!Introduction!to!Kelowna!.........................................................................................................!9!  2.2!  The!Housing!Situation!of!Immigrants!and!Immigrant!Women!in!Canada!.................................!11!  2.3!  Access!to!Housing:!Affordability!and!Discrimination!.................................................................!15!  2.3.1!  Affordability.!......................................................................................................................!15!  2.3.2!  Discrimination!....................................................................................................................!18!  2.3.3!  Discrimination!based!on!newcomer!status.!.......................................................................!21!  2.3.4!  Discrimination!based!on!gender.!.......................................................................................!22!  2.3.5!  Discrimination!based!on!racial!or!ethnic!backgrounds.!.....................................................!23!  2.3.6!  Discrimination!based!on!family!and!household!size.!.........................................................!27!  2.4!  Summary!....................................................................................................................................!28!  Chapter(3:(Methodology!...........................................................................................................................!31!  !  3.1!  Study!Area!.................................................................................................................................!31!  3.2!  Study!Population!........................................................................................................................!34!  3.3!  Sampling!and!Data!Collection!....................................................................................................!34!  3.4!  Questionnaire!Survey!Design!.....................................................................................................!36!  3.5!  Key!Informant!Interviews!..........................................................................................................!37!  3.6!  Limitations!of!the!Study!.............................................................................................................!39!  iv!  3.7!  Summary!....................................................................................................................................!39!  Chapter(4:(Settlement(into(the(City(of(Kelowna!......................................................................................!41! 4.1!  Introduction!...............................................................................................................................!41!  4.2!  SocioRDemographic!Profile!of!Questionnaire!Sample!................................................................!43!  4.2.1!  Country!of!origin.!...............................................................................................................!44!  4.2.2!  Year!of!arrival!into!Canada!and!immigration!class.!...........................................................!44!  4.2.3!  Age!structure,!marital!status!and!household.!....................................................................!45!  4.2.4!  Educational!attainment!and!income.!.................................................................................!46!  4.3!  Settlement!Barriers!and!Challenges!..........................................................................................!48!  4.4!  Settlement!Challenges!Ranked!By!Importance!..........................................................................!52!  4.5!  Summary!....................................................................................................................................!53!  Chapter(5:(The(Housing(Experiences(of(Immigrant(Women(in(Kelowna!.................................................!55! 5.1!  Introduction!...............................................................................................................................!55!  5.1.1! 5.2!  Current!housing!profile.!.....................................................................................................!55!  The!Housing!Search!Process!......................................................................................................!58!  5.2.1!  Search!for!current!rental!residence.!..................................................................................!61!  5.2.2!  Locating!current!residence.!...............................................................................................!63!  5.3!  The!Rental!Housing!Experience:!Barriers!and!Challenges!in!Kelowna’s!Housing!Market!..........!65!  5.3.1!  Income!and!affordability!....................................................................................................!66!  5.3.2!  Degree!of!difficulty!encountered!in!the!rental!housing!market.!.......................................!68!  5.3.3!  Major!barriers!experienced!in!Kelowna’s!rental!housing!market.!.....................................!69!  5.4!  Discrimination!in!Kelowna!.........................................................................................................!70!  5.5!  Strategies!for!Coping!with!Barriers!to!Housing!..........................................................................!72!  5.6!  Summary!....................................................................................................................................!75!  Chapter(6:(Recommendations(for(Reducing(Immigrant(Women’s(Housing(Barriers(............................(77( 6.1!  Introduction!...............................................................................................................................!77!  6.2!  Recommendations!.....................................................................................................................!78!  6.2.1! 6.3!  !  Landlord!Policies/!Procedures.!..........................................................................................!83!  Recommendations!by!Key!Informants!.......................................................................................!84!  6.3.1!  Organization!recommendations.!.......................................................................................!84!  6.3.2!  Recommendations!for!governments.!................................................................................!85!  6.3.3!  Recommendations!to!immigrant!women!coming!to!Kelowna.!.........................................!86! v!  6.4!  Summary!....................................................................................................................................!87!  Chapter(7:(Conclusion!...............................................................................................................................!91! 7.1!  Introduction!...............................................................................................................................!91!  7.2!  Research!Findings!......................................................................................................................!92!  7.3!  Limitations!of!the!Study!and!Areas!for!Further!Research!..........................................................!95!  Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…..99( Appendices…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………107! (  Appendix!A:!Contact!Letter!to!Key!Informants………………………………………………………………………..107!  !  Appendix!B:!Consent!Form!for!Key!Informants……………………………………………………………………….109!  !  Appendix!C:!SemiRStructured!Interview!Guide!for!Key!Informants………………………………………….112!  !  Appendix!D:!Contact!Letter!for!Immigrant!Women…………………………………………………………………115!  !  Appendix!E:!FollowRup!Contact!Letter!for!Immigrant!Women…………………………………………………117!  !  Appendix!F:!Consent!Form!for!Immigrant!Women………………………………………………………………….119!  !  Appendix!G:!Questionnaire!Survey!for!Immigrant!Women…………………………………………………..…122!  !  Appendix!H:!Research!EthnicsR!Certificate!of!Approval……………………………………………………………144!  !  !  !  vi!  List of Tables Table 4.1  Respondents’ Year of Arrival to Canada ................................................................. 44  Table 4.2  Respondents Immigration Class on Arrival to Canada. ........................................... 45  Table 4.3  Respondents Educational Attainment ...................................................................... 46  Table 4.4  Respondent’s Total Household Income for 2011 .................................................... 47  Table 4.5  Respondents Barriers and Challenges during the Settlement Processing ................ 49  Table 4.6  Greatest Barrier or Challenge Faced when Settling in Kelowna ............................. 52  Table 5.1  Respondents per Household ..................................................................................... 56  Table 5.2  Respondents Current Residence .............................................................................. 56  Table 5.3  Respondents Current Rental Residence ................................................................... 57  Table 5.4  Areas of Search for Rental Housing within the City of Kelowna............................ 57  Table 5.5  Barriers/Challenges Faced in the Housing Search Process...................................... 59  Table 5.6  Ease of Obtaining Information about Rental Housing Vacancies ........................... 60  Table 5.7  Respondent’s Satisfaction with Current Residence ................................................. 61  Table 5.8  Respondent’s Satisfaction with Neighbourhood ...................................................... 62  Table 5.9  Reasons for Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction with Neighbourhood................................ 62  Table 5.10 Sources Used to Find Current Residence................................................................. 63 Table 5.11 Most Helpful Sources for Finding Current Rental Residence ................................. 64 Table 5.12 Barriers/Challenges in Obtaining Housing .............................................................. 66 Table 5.13 Percentage of Total Monthly Income Spent on Housing ......................................... 67 Table 5.14 Degree of Ease with Selected Aspects of Housing Experience ............................... 68 Table 5.15 Perceived Experiences of Discrimination in Kelowna’s Rental Housing Market ... 71 Table 5.16 Coping Strategies Used to Afford their Housing ..................................................... 73 Table 6.1  Recommendations to Improve Immigrant Women’s Rental Housing Experiences 79  Table 6.2  Recommendations for Changed Landlords Policies and Procedures ...................... 83  !  vii!  List of Figures Figure 1.1  Immigrant women and total immigrants, Canada, 1991 – 2006, and 2011 – 2031 projections .................................................................................................................. 4  Figure 1.2  Recent immigrant women, total immigrants and Canadian-born, by age group, Canada, 2006.............................................................................................................. 5  Figure 2.1  Primary and Secondary Barriers for Immigrants ..................................................... 26  Figure 3.1  Map of the City of Kelowna and Main Sectors ....................................................... 32  !  viii!  Acknowledgements First, I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Carlos Teixeira for all of his help and guidance through this Master’s thesis. Without Carlos and his patience I would not have succeeded. Carlos thank you for teaching me what it is like to work hard and see the rewards and for providing me with inspiration and a passion to complete this Master’s thesis. Thank you Carlos. To my committee members, Dr. Susan Wells and Professor Bernard Momer: I want to thank you for all of your support and guidance throughout my graduate studies. Thank you for all of your suggestions, comments and input, I greatly appreciate all of it. I would also like to thank my family, more specifically, my Mom and Dad for providing me with the opportunity to complete both my undergraduate degree and my Masters. Without your support, completing this thesis would not have been possible.  !  ix!  Dedication I would like to dedicate this thesis to my loving and hardworking parents Henry and Jana Karl, because without them this would not have been possible.  !  x!  Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1  Background Kelowna is known to be one of the most livable cities in Canada, boasting a year-round  playground for its residents and visitors alike. In more recent years Kelowna has been labeled a retirement community with a large portion of its population being 65 and older, but also a vacation spot for those living in neighboring cities and provinces. Along with its fine dining options, first-class golf courses, and world-renowned, high-end ski resorts (Aguiar, Tomic & Trumper, 2005), Kelowna also has one of the most expensive real estate housing markets in Canada and a low rental vacancy rate (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation [CMHC], 2008; McEwan, 2010; Palmer, 2012; Talbot, 2012; Teixeira, 2009, 2010). Despite its high housing costs, Kelowna has been growing rapidly. From 2006 to 2011, Kelowna’s population increased by 10.8%, to become the fourth fastest growing city in the country, slightly behind Saskatoon at 11.4%, Edmonton at 12.1% and Calgary at 12.6% (Press, 2012). Most of the population growth in Kelowna, like that of British Columbia in general, is attributed to internal migration within Canada, mostly from Alberta (B.C. Stats, 2011; Bahbahani, 2008); a small portion is due to immigration. In 2007, only 511 out of the 38, 893 immigrants to British Columbia listed Kelowna as their intended destination (Bahbahani, 2008). Most immigrants in Kelowna arrived long ago, 31.9% arrived before 1961, 61.2% have lived there for more than 26 years (Bahbahani, 2008). Immigrants to Canada are almost exclusively attracted to urban centres, especially large cities; those cities benefit in terms of economic growth, entrepreneurial development, and cultural diversity and exchange (Teixeira, Li & Kobayashi, 2012). In fact, cities compete to  !  1!  attract international migrants. Mid-size cities like Kelowna attract far fewer immigrants than ‘gateway’ cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal where more economic opportunities exist and established ethnic communities abound (Derwing & Krahn, 2008; Murdie & Skop, 2012). Canada’s economic planning in terms of labour force needs and capital investment is being closely tied to immigration. The Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, recently announced that for the year 2013 a new class of visa will be created to attract entrepreneurs and high-tech developers in an attempt to get immigrants to start new companies in Canada and promote investment (Palmer, 2012). New rules are being put in place to help reduce the labour shortage and increase the working age population (Ibid.). In 2013, a new immigration program will also expedite the entry of immigrants with specific skills (The Canadian Press, 2012). Along with employment opportunities, housing availability and cost is a major factor in immigrants’ decisions on where to settle. Housing is one of the most important factors in determining the successful integration of immigrants into a new society (Depner, 2011; Logan, 2010; Miraftab, 2000; Teixeira, 2009, 2010, 2011). Housing quality, cost, suitability, and location has an impact on other aspects of an immigrant’s life such as education, employment, income, and even social skills (Depner, 2011; Logan, 2010; Teixeira, 2008, 2009, 2010). Research on immigrants’ housing experiences has focused on the situation in Canada’s major gateway cities for immigrants — Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. Few studies have focused on the situation in mid-size cities, and fewer still on immigrant women’s housing experiences in small and mid-size cities (Boyd, 1991; Logan, 2010; Murdie, Preston, Ghosh & Chevalier, 2006; Ng, Northcott & Abu-Laban 2007; Teixeira, 2011). The few studies available  !  2!  show that low-income immigrant women have a difficult time finding adequate, suitable and affordable housing in large cities across Canada. It is not clear whether they face similar difficulties in small and mid-size cities (Teixeira, 2006, 2008). 1.2  Immigration to Kelowna The Greater Vancouver Area continues to attract the major share of immigrants to British  Columbia (BC Stats, 2011). On a much more modest scale, the immigrant population in Kelowna is gradually increasing and becoming more culturally diverse. By 2006, at least twothirds of immigrants in Kelowna originated from a European country (Bahbahani, 2008). The top countries for immigrants to Kelowna in the years 2003 to 2007 were England (20%) and India (11%). By the year 2011, 14,215 Kelowna residents spoke a language at home other than English or French (Statistics Canada, 2012a); the most-reported non-official language spoken at home was Punjabi, followed by German, then Chinese. Visible minority immigrants comprised 6.2% of Kelowna’s population, compared to 25% in the province as a whole (Teixeira, 2009). Reflecting patterns from an earlier era of immigration, most immigrants in Kelowna are not visible minority (Statistics Canada, 2012a). Consequently, Kelowna has been labeled a ‘white bread’ city in the past and continues to be one of the ‘whitest’ cities in British Columbia and Canada, however this is slowly changing as immigration levels increase and Kelowna creates a plan to provide affordable housing along with other incentives to attract immigrants. In 2006, 14.8% of Kelowna’s total population were immigrants, representing a greater proportional five-year increase of immigrants than occurred in Vancouver (Teixeira, 2010).  !  3!  1.2.1  Immigrant Women Canada!  !In 2006, 20.3% of Canada’s female population were immigrants (Statistics Canada,  2012c), the highest level of immigrant women residing in Canada since 1931 (Statistics Canada, 2012b).!  Figure 1.1. Immigrant women and total immigrants, Canada, 1911 – 2006 and 2011 – 2031 projections. From Statistics Canada (2012b). Since 1980, the gender pattern has switched from a higher proportion of male immigrants to a higher proportion of female immigrants. It is projected that by 2031 Canada could have 11.1 million immigrants, more than half of them (52.3%), or 5.8 million, being female (Statistics Canada, 2012c). In 2006, 52% of Canada’s immigrants were women (Statistics Canada, 2012c). 3 out of 10 immigrant women were reported to have come to Canada under the family class categorization (Statistics Canada, 2012c). These immigrant women came from 220 different countries in the world. Nine percent of these immigrant women indicated their place of birth and origin as the United Kingdom followed  !  4!  by another 8% from China, 7% from India and lastly 5% from the Philippines (Statistics Canada, 2012c). This shows a large shift from immigration in the past when most came from Europe (see Teixeira, Li & Kobayashi, 2012). Due to this shift, those immigrating now are part of a visible minority, in 1981 only 55% of immigrant women indicated being visible minority; by 2006, 76% of immigrant women were visible minority (Statistics Canada, 2012c). Statistics Canada reported that in 2006, recent immigrant women tended to be younger than native-born women and in the 25 to 54 age bracket (58%), whereas a smaller portion (4.3%) were older, between 55 and 64, and only 3.6% were 65 and older (Statistics Canada, 2012c) (see Figure 1.2).  Figure 1.2. Recent immigrant women, total immigrants and Canadian-born, by age group, Canada, 2006. Adapted from Statistics Canada (2012c).  !  5!  The majority of immigrant women in Canada lived with family members and were more likely to be married than native-born Canadian women (Statistics Canada, 2012c). Eighty-three percent of immigrant women over the age of 15 lived with family; the remainder lived alone or with non-relatives. Of those who lived with their family, 67% resided with a spouse; another 4% lived with a common-law partner; 18% lived with their parents; and 11% were lone parents (Statistics Canada, 2012c). Immigrant women are increasingly becoming an important segment of Canada’s population. Therefore it is important to examine the housing experiences of these immigrant women. There are few studies on immigrant women’s housing situations and experiences in Canada’s large urban centres, and fewer in small and mid-size cities. 1.3  The Purpose of the Study and Research Questions The principle aim of the present research is to examine the rental housing experiences of  immigrant women in the City of Kelowna. Kelowna is known for being a predominantly ‘White’ community that is not as diverse and rich with different cultures as Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. Because Kelowna’s ethnic composition is less culturally diverse than most other urban areas in Canada, this mid-size city provides a natural “social laboratory” for studying the housing experiences of immigrant women and exploring the barriers and challenges they face in Kelowna’s expensive housing market. The Canadian literature shows that immigrants, including refugees, face more barriers and challenges in accessing adequate, affordable and suitable housing than native-born Canadians. They are more at risk of homelessness (Murdie, 2004; Teixeira, 2009, 2010). However, studies that focus on immigrant women and their rental housing experiences are lacking. Immigrants in general face challenges such as language barriers, lack of  !  6!  knowledge of rules, laws and regulations dealing with rental housing in Canada, a lack of social support networks, and discrimination in the rental housing market. Very little is known about immigrant women and their housing experiences, including the barriers/challenges they face in the rental housing market in mid-size cities. (Dion, 2001; George & Ramkissoon, 1998; Hulchanski, 1994, 1997; Lawrence, 2007; Logan 2010; Novac, 1999; Teixeira, 2009, 2010). The purpose of this study is to examine the rental housing experiences of immigrant women with regard to their housing search process and outcomes. It will identify the main barriers and challenges these immigrant women face in Kelowna, one of the most expensive rental housing markets in Canada. This study will also examine the role of discrimination within the rental housing search process, along with the strategies employed by immigrant women to overcome barriers and challenges they have encountered. Lastly, the study will make recommendations regarding how the immigrant women’s rental housing experiences can be improved, based on input from both immigrant women participants and key informants. The key research questions that guided this study are: •  What are the major barriers that immigrant women face in finding housing in Kelowna’s rental housing market?  •  What strategies are employed by immigrant women to cope with the barriers in finding rental housing in Kelowna?  •  What role does gender play in the housing search process of immigrant women in Kelowna’s rental housing market?  •  What policy recommendations can be made in order to help reduce the housing barriers encountered by immigrant women in the rental housing market? Thus, this study seeks to provide a better understanding of immigrant women’s rental  housing experiences in the City of Kelowna, a mid-size city in Canada. The answers to these  !  7!  research questions can hopefully alleviate the situation faced by immigrant women in rental markets across Canada and change the way they settle into the City of Kelowna in order for Kelowna to continue to grow and move forth in the future becoming a more multi-cultural center open to new ethnicities and ways of life. 1.4  Thesis Structure This thesis is divided into seven sections. Following this introduction, Chapter 2 reviews  the literature in relation to housing affordability and the housing situation of immigrants and immigrant women in Canadian cities. Also discussed in this chapter is the issue of discrimination and the role it plays in the rental housing experiences of immigrants in Canada. Chapter 3 gives a description of the study area, the sample and how it was selected, along with the study design and data collection procedures. This chapter also provides details about the survey questionnaire used and the key informant interview process. Chapter 4 describes the socio-demographic characteristics and examines the settlement experiences of a sample of immigrant women in Kelowna. Chapter 5 presents data on the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna: the search process along with the major barriers and challenges that arose; the main challenges faced by immigrant women in the rental housing market; and the strategies employed to overcome the barriers and challenges. Chapter 6 discusses the recommendations provided by both survey respondents and key informants to improve the rental housing process for immigrant women in the city of Kelowna. The last chapter, Chapter 7, finishes with a summary of the research findings and a discussion of the limitations of this study along with suggested avenues for further research.  !  8!  Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.1  An Introduction to Kelowna Canada is a sought after country for immigrants to come to; the immigrant population is  projected to soar by 2031 (Statistics Canada, 2011). It is estimated that by the year 2031, approximately three-in-ten Canadians (between 11.4 and 14.4 million people, more than double the number in 2006) will be members of a visible minority group (Statistics Canada, 2011). While most visible minority immigrants will continue to settle in Canada’s largest cities, an increasing number and proportion will choose to settle in mid-size cities across Canada such as Kelowna (see Teixeira, Li & Kobayashi, 2012; Hyndman, Schuurman & Fiedler, 2006). Kelowna is one of the largest cities in British Columbia and has a relatively small population of immigrants (15,840), but is growing rapidly (Statistics Canada, 2012a). Kelowna’s population grew from 89,445 people in 1996 to 117,312 people in 2011, for a total population increase of 76.2% over 16 years (City of Kelowna, 1996; Statistics Canada, 2012a); it was the fastest growing city in Canada in terms of number of households (Crawford, 2012). This rapid increase in population growth and number of households has put increased pressure on Kelowna’s rental housing markets. It has been suggested that Kelowna’s expensive housing market might be a large deterrent for immigrants. From 1998 to 2008, vacancy rental rates in Kelowna were quite low, pushing up the demand for rental housing as well as the cost, and creating issues for those already residing in Kelowna and those who wish to come here. As vacancy rates decrease, rent levels increase (Oh, 2010). In 2008 Kelowna’s rental vacancy rate dropped to an extremely low level, 0.3 percent (Teixeira, 2009). As of 2011, Kelowna’s vacancy rate was at 3.0% (CMHC, 2011a).  !  9!  Institutional development in the Okanagan, such as the expansion of the Kelowna airport and the University of British Columbia Okanagan, has mirrored population growth and employment. The University of British Columbia Okanagan itself has created an increase of 15.5% in the demographic age group of 15 to 24 year olds (Talbot, 2012). This is a huge change for Kelowna, which is known for having high populations of elderly (19.4%) and not enough young people to fill jobs (Mehta, 2012). Since the university first opened its doors in 2005, the number of students attending and the number of people employed has almost doubled (Talbot, 2012). Such development increases the demand for housing (in the case of young adults, lowcost housing), so that rents in Kelowna are higher than in several other cities in British Columbia, only surpassed by those in Vancouver and Victoria. The average monthly rent in Kelowna in April 2011 was $920 for a two-bedroom apartment and $984 for a three-bedroom apartment (CMHC, 2011b). Past studies have shown that immigrant women experience major difficulties in finding affordable rental housing in a high-cost housing market such as Kelowna’s (Teixeira, 2008, 2009, 2011). Both the high housing costs and Kelowna’s reputation as a ‘white bread city’ (Teixeira, 2009) would seem to deter immigrants from settling there. Immigrants are not generally attracted to cities that are culturally homogeneous. The draw of Canada’s largest cities is their ethnic neighbourhoods and large immigrant populations. Immigrants are more likely to be attracted to cities where friends and family or other co-ethnic immigrants live (Hyndman, Schurrman & Fiedler, 2006). Visible minorities in Kelowna often have more negative feelings, face more discrimination and have a harder time integrating into Kelowna than non-visible minorities (Oh, 2010).  !  10!  An interview with John Oh, a recent graduate student from UBCO, on CTV News addressed how members of visible minorities are mistreated based on their ethnic origin (Molgat, 2012). Many of the immigrants interviewed in Oh’s study, and particularly those who declared themselves as being a member of a visible minority, felt they were not welcome in Kelowna, and were overwhelmed by living amidst such a large White population (Molgat, 2012; Oh, 2010). After many years of being called derogatory names, the immigrants Oh interviewed had learned to shrug off the aggression expressed by the public in Kelowna (Molgat, 2012). The CTV News program also interviewed a worker at Vernon’s Immigration Services who stated that many immigrants with accents are turned away from housing because landlords and their agents recognize the accent as foreign and choose to not rent to them (Molgat, 2012). The main purpose of this chapter is to provide a contextual background to the issues based on the existing body of literature dealing with immigrants’ and immigrant women’s housing situation and the barriers encountered in Canada’s housing markets. It also points to the paucity of research pertaining to immigrant women and housing specifically. 2.2  The Housing Situation of Immigrants and Immigrant Women in Canada In 1993 the federal government withdrew funding for new social housing; the provinces  more or less followed suit during the next few years, cancelling funding for any new social housing (Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation [CERA], 2002). This withdrawal by the federal government created a wave of concern for those who were on the verge of homelessness and those who were in need of social housing due to their current difficult living circumstances. The federal and provincial funding cutbacks for social housing had a ripple effect on immigrant women (Hulchanski & Shapcott, 2004; Novac, 1999). Women generally face more hardships  !  11!  than men due to their lower incomes; single women, women with children, senior women and women newcomers are at an even greater disadvantage. Immigrant women often face more barriers based on their race, ethnicity, and larger average family size (CERA, 2002; Logan, 2010; Novac, 1999). Often an immigrant women’s first step upon arrival in Canada is finding a place to live, usually with other family members, but not always. Some immigrant women do not have the funds to pay for appropriate housing. A small number of them are ineligible for subsidized housing because they are not landed immigrants. But most of them simply cannot access the very limited number of housing subsidies of social housing units for which the wait lists are extremely long (CERA, 2002). In 1996, half of the newcomer women who immigrated to Canada between 1991 and 1996 were living in low-income situations (CERA, 2002). Poverty is greater among visible minority immigrant women (Ibid.). According to studies on immigrants and their housing experiences, access to affordable housing is an important factor in their integration within Canadian society (Logan, 2010; Murdie, 2005; Teixeira, 2009). Adequate, affordable and suitable housing is important to all households undergoing change and transition, regardless of their immigration or migration status (Carter, Morrish & Amoyaw 2008; Danso & Grant, 2000; Logan, 2010; Miraftab, 2000; Murdie, 2010; Wachsmuth, 2008). For immigrant women, securing housing that is affordable is a major barrier (Logan, 2010; Novac, 1999; Wachsmuth, 2008). Non-visible minority immigrant women face barriers in terms of securing affordable housing, however, visible minority immigrant women are more disadvantaged in securing housing (Wachsmuth, 2008). Acquiring suitable housing is not dependent on the individual but on the rental housing market of their selected community. Studies show that immigrants have a hard time with the rental housing search process upon arriving in Canada, due largely to their limited financial situation, high rental costs in urban  !  12!  centres, different rules and procedures than what they are accustomed to, the shortage of rentals available in urban centres, and discriminatory practices in rental markets across Canada (Hann, 2007; Hiebert, 2009; Logan 2010; Miraftab, 2000; Murdie, 2004; Murdie et al., 2006; Teixeira, 2009, 2010). Immigrants, especially visible minority immigrants and immigrant women, tend to live with family members which often relieves some of the financial burden on arrival in Canada (Oh, 2010; Teixeira, 2010). While homeownership is a goal for most immigrants in Canada, many must rent first, before being able to purchase a property (Hann, 2007, 2010; Hiebert, 2009; Oh, 2010; Miraftab, 2000). Homeownership is a prime indicator of success in an immigrant’s housing trajectory, but the rate of homeownership varies by ethnic and racial group and age at arrival (Hann, 2007, 2010; Hiebert, 2009). Being a homeowner rather than a renter is often viewed as an indicator of an immigrant’s complete integration into Canadian cities (Hiebert, 2009). Since immigration has become the primary driver of population growth in Canada, second tier cities are keen to attract and retain new immigrants, although they find it difficult to compete with the largest cities (Depner &Teixeira, 2012; Murdie & Skop, 2012; WaltonRoberts, 2005). Studies have shown that new immigrants settle where services and supports were more readily available (especially family and friends), usually in the larger cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver with long histories of immigration flows (Teixeira et al., 2012). Immigration to smaller cities in Canada is predicted to occur more slowly, but it is increasingly important for them to attract more immigrants to promote economic growth (Ibid.). Cities like Edmonton and Calgary are stepping up their strategies to compete with Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, and each other, for new immigrants (Derwing & Krahn,  !  13!  2008). The successful integration of immigrants is largely determined by their access to affordable housing, educational opportunities, good incomes, good social services, cultural diversity, and the support of friends and family (social networks) and a welcoming community (Carter et al., 2008; Cook & Pruegger, 2003; Derwing & Krahn, 2008; Teixeira, 2009). A study by Walton-Roberts (2005), focusing on immigrants in Kelowna and Squamish, found that supports and services provided by the local government and non-profit organizations were key factors in attracting and retaining newcomers. More recent research shows that a welcoming community is important for attracting and retaining new immigrants in the south Okanagan Valley, and plays a larger role than that of service availability alone (Depner, 2011; Depner and Teixeira, 2012). Immigrants who choose to settle in the interior of British Columbia or Central Okanagan (including Kelowna) do so predominantly because they have friends or family in the area (Teixeira, 2009, 2011). This allows them to rely on their contacts rather than seek help from government agencies or non-profit organizations (Teixeira, 2009, 2011). Personal networks are extremely important to new immigrants coming to Canada. While the particulars of immigrant women’s settlement experiences have not been extensively studied, a qualitative study by Logan (2010) explored the significance of home and its creation among newcomer Tibetan women in Parkdale, an area in Toronto with a growing, close-knit Tibetan community. She found that Tibetan refugee women in Toronto have a strong sense of home as more than just a place. Beyond the physical dwelling, home represents a place of support by friends, family and community; it holds memories of the past, the reality of the present, and imaginings of the future. Home is the core of their security, in all its aspects, and a fundamental base for creating a new life for themselves. Logan found that those Tibetan women who represented their home as more than a house and were able to create a home as they wished  !  14!  became more involved more quickly in the local community than those who lacked adequate housing (Logan, 2010). Women are often associated with the home environment, in line with societal gender roles, and housing is often viewed quite differently by females and males (Logan, 2010). Logan (2010) writes that men often associate having a home with status whereas women see home as a “haven”. In either case, having a home is basic to a newcomer’s sense of inclusion or exclusion within society (Logan, 2010). Logan found other gender differences among the Tibetans. The women tended to live in larger households with more children, had lower education levels, and were more likely to receive government support, although it was not their main source of income. The men lived in household sizes suitable to their needs, had higher education and income levels, along with a better chance of being employed. 2.3  Access to Housing: Affordability and Discrimination 2.3.1  Affordability  Rental housing affordability is a major concern for many newcomers to Canada, often leaving many in core housing need (Carter et al., 2008). Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation identifies three main components in its calculation of core housing need: adequacy, affordability and suitability (Logan, 2010; Murdie, 2005). Adequacy refers to the physical condition of a dwelling; suitability refers to the match between dwelling size and household size and composition; and affordability refers to a cost threshold for housing, less than 30% of gross household income, the maximum amount a household may spend without compromising its ability to afford non-housing essentials (Logan 2010; Murdie, 2005).  !  15!  Previous studies show that affordability was one of the main concerns of new immigrants in Kelowna (Teixeira, 2008, 2009), and is one of the most significant barriers for newcomers to Canada (Carter et al., 2008; Logan 2010; Murdie, 2005; Miraftab, 2000; Novac, 1999; Novac, Darden, Hulchanski, Seguin & Berneche, 2002; Teixeira, 2009, 2010, 2011; Wachsmuth, 2008). High housing costs and a shortage of available rental units in both the public and private markets make it difficult for new immigrants to obtain housing that is adequate, suitable, and affordable (Carter et al., 2008; Logan 2010; Murdie, 2005; Novac, 1999; Teixeira, 2009, 2010, 2011). New immigrants who lack an established social network and have a lower income, along with a larger household, tend to struggle more in the private rental market upon arrival (Carter et al., 2008; Murdie et al., 2006). New immigrant women, especially, struggle to find adequate housing for themselves and their families due to affordability issues (CERA, 2002; Logan 2010). In part this is due to the fact that women in general are more likely to have contingent jobs, are more prone to lay-offs, and earn lower wages than men (CERA, 2002; Statistics Canada, 2011c). On arrival, immigrants vary greatly in terms of their financial assets and capital. Murdie (2005) found that those who immigrated recently under the business class had financial assets that allowed them to afford better housing than those in the other immigration classes. Certain ethnic groups tend to have more economic capital and higher median incomes than others (Hann, 2010; Logan, 2010). For instance, Japanese immigrants have a higher median income and tend to live in higher-cost housing and neighborhoods than immigrants of other ethnicities, or nativeborn Whites (Hann, 2010). Level of formal schooling is another factor related to financial status and earning, and therefore housing affordability. Hann (2010) found that immigrants who held a university degree earned on average $5,000 more than those with only a high school diploma.  !  16!  It is immigrants with low incomes who are unable to afford housing suitable to their needs. Murdie (2005) found that many women newcomers were in core housing need, paying up to 50% of their income on housing. While some newcomers have no issues with finding a good quality rental within their price range, or can purchase a home, a large portion of them cannot afford to do this and therefore experience unaffordability problems, and immigrant women, especially those without a male partner, are more likely to be in core housing need based on their lower incomes. Unfortunately, this cannot be substantiated because CMHC and other governmental organizations do not publish statistics that would allow a comparison based on gender, immigration, and housing status. Nevertheless, because of the issue of housing affordability, many immigrants and immigrant women are unable to move from the rental market to the homeownership market (Carter et al., 2008). Serious or protracted housing affordability issues can result in homelessness. Hann (2011a) reports that immigrants for the most part have been able to avoid visible homelessness. Immigrants may experience a high rate of hidden homelessness; this is difficult to measure, therefore, hard to determine. Some researchers use household overcrowding as an indicator of hidden homelessness, but this is contentious, especially given the various cultural interpretations of what constitutes unacceptable residential crowding. It is well-documented that new immigrants to Canada often share residences and for longer periods of time to reduce the cost of housing. As Hann (2011a, 2011b) notes, there is a difference between homelessness and residential overcrowding. He explored the question of whether immigrant residential crowding reflects hidden homelessness. Crowding is a sign of poverty and is associated with lower income levels; but it is also a way to save money and avoid or reduce poverty. In North America, crowding is now classified as  !  17!  having more than one person per room, whereas in other cultures, it is not (Hann, 2011b). In 1970, one-in-twelve Canadian homes were over-crowded or had more than one person per room; by 2001 this had dropped significantly to one-in-forty. In order to better understand residential crowding Hann (2011b) suggests it is important to take a look at the culture in which overcrowding appears. Some ethnic groups have higher rates of crowding such as Hispanics and Asians (Hann, 2010, 2011b), partly related to their non-Western family and cultural norms (Oh, 2010). In an effort to better understand residential crowding, Hann (2011b) applied the consumer choice model of human behavior. As rents rise and units are less available, some people elect to live with one another (as doubled-up households) to reduce their expenses. But this is not the only reason for crowding. 2.3.2  Discrimination  Housing discrimination has been defined as “any behavior, practice or policy within the public or market realm that directly, indirectly, or systemically causes harm through inequitable access to, or enjoyment of, housing for members of social groups that have historically been disadvantaged” (Novac et al., 2002, p.1). Therefore, in order for discrimination to have taken place, there must be a) differential treatment and b) the absence of moral or legal justifications for discriminatory actions (Novac et al., 2002). In short, discrimination occurs when one is denied equal opportunity or equal treatment compared to another more dominant group (Ibid.). Novac (1999) reported that immigrant women and women refugees faced affordability problems partly due to discrimination by landlords and their lower income levels. Housing discrimination has become less blatant than in the past; it has become subtler and less apparent, especially to newcomers (Novac, 1999). Obvious outright messages of exclusion have evolved  !  18!  into more sophisticated forms such as discrimination based on income and credit criteria so that newcomers are often unaware of the intent or collective result (Novac, 1999). De facto discrimination based on income criteria, credit checks, rent-to-income ratios, and requests for endorsers, is more common (Novac et al., 2002). Discrimination based on household income level is not technically illegal, and therefore occurs quite often (Novac et al., 2002). Discrimination based on source of income, notably social assistance, is illegal in Ontario, but this is largely a moot point (Novac et al., 2002). Hulchanski (1994) has classified discrimination based on income criteria as ‘statistical discrimination’ which disadvantages groups such as women, newcomers, youth, and single parents, and especially those who receive social assistance (Hulchanski, 1994). It may occur when a landlord deems an applicant incapable of paying the rent because of the applicant’s low income (Novac et al., 2002). Immigrant women often face discrimination in the Canadian job market as well; this is sometimes exacerbated by difficulties in having their education, credentials, or work skills recognized if obtained in another country. Immigrant women therefore face many forms of discrimination that can affect their participation and status in the Canadian labour market as well as the housing market. Women may face issues with not finding a job due to discrimination based on their race, newcomer status, income level, income source, or family size. Having a low income limits their ability to afford proper housing and pay for other essentials such as food and clothing (Hulchanski, 1994). When immigrant women are unable to find housing that is suitable and affordable, many will make do as best they can. Immigrant women are more likely to spend more money to have  !  19!  better housing or to live in a better neighborhood rather than put themselves and their families at risk, particularly to avoid living in a neighborhood that is less safe despite being within their budget (Novac, 1999). Sexual harassment by landlords and others who are willing to take advantage of someone who is struggling has been reported by a surprising number of women tenants, more than one-in-five in one large survey (Novac et al., 2002). But immigrant women and women refugees are less likely than native-born Canadians to report incidents of discrimination or sexual harassment due to fear or lack of knowledge on where to go to get help (Novac, 1999). Hann’s (2010) study, entitled Is Recent Immigrant Clustering in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver Part of the Reason behind Declining Immigrant Neighborhood Quality?, found that nearly three-fourths of those who immigrated to Canada settled in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. Hann suggests that quality of life is greatly influenced by the city in which new immigrants choose to reside. The support networks and the ethnic communities and services available in the bigger cities are a great benefit to them, however, immigrants often end up living in neighborhoods that are not well suited for them but are the best they can afford. While the average median income of immigrants who settle in Canada’s gateway cities is $36,200, it is $1,600 more among immigrants who settle elsewhere. Nineteen percent of ‘gateway’ city immigrants’ reside in neighbourhoods where 19% of the residents live in poverty (below the low-income cut off, LICO); the comparative rate is 17% of immigrants who live elsewhere. Hann (2010) mentions but then discards the idea of moving immigrants to other cities in Canada as a partial remedy to reduce the negative effects of poverty. The concept of ‘Moving to Opportunity’ is therefore not likely to help immigrants overcome barriers faced in larger cities.  !  20!  Housing and neighborhood quality is important for new immigrants to Canada because it helps aid with the integration process. Over time, immigrants are frequently able to move to better housing and better neighbourhoods as their financial status improves (Hann, 2010). 2.3.3  Discrimination based on newcomer status  Hulchanski (1997) reports that newcomers to Canada may face discrimination right away based on a variety of factors such as English fluency, accent, income level and source of income, and skin color, along with non-Western ethno-culture behaviors. This type of discrimination can occur no matter what one’s previous standing was in one’s source country, or education level, or occupation (Hulchanski, 1997). Most newcomers first seek housing upon arrival, an important base for their integration into a new society. Newcomers lack Canadian references for landlords and therefore may face discrimination based on being a newcomer (Hulchanski, 1997). Landlords usually require Canadian credit checks, along with references in order to rent. Most provinces however recognize that having no references due to being a newcomer is different from having bad references. From a landlord’s perspective, having a co-signer is a potential remedy for the lack of a credit rating or references and newcomers often know someone in the area where they settle. Immigrants who settle in the major Canadian gateway cities are more likely to have a large, strong social network than those who settle in smaller cities. In the larger cities, most ethnic groups have sizeable ethnic communities making it easier for immigrants to establish social networks, whereas in Kelowna these established social networks are missing or much smaller (Oh, 2010; Teixeira, 2009). This therefore causes another barrier for immigrants and immigrant women who are trying to find affordable housing and a co-signer in small and mid-size cities.  !  21!  According to Carter and his colleagues (2008), municipalities have largely neglected newcomers’ needs for settlement and translation services. Language barriers have contributed to immigrants’ ignorance of landlord-tenant information, and some landlords take advantage of this. Carter and his colleagues (2008) concluded that more government funding for settlement assistance is required to help newcomers obtain affordable housing (Ibid.) 2.3.4  Discrimination based on gender  The research on gender and discrimination in housing is quite limited. Even less has been written about government initiatives to tackle and eliminate this problem (Depner & Teixeira 2011, 2009; Wekerle & Novac, 1991). Gender-specific housing programs or policies do not exist, although a few co-operative and non-profit housing developments cater to women. This therefore creates an issue for disadvantaged groups and those who are already discriminated against based on other factors. Wekerle and Novac (1991) argue that the federal government has been slow to recognize women’s current housing issues. Nowadays many women tend to stay single longer and choose to live alone longer, however with no changes being made to keep up with the changing times, women still face discrimination based on their gender (Statistics Canada, 2011). Based on the experiences of immigrant women in Vancouver and Sydney, Australia, Ley & Murphy (2001) explored the gendered nature of the social geography of migration. Women’s experiences as immigrants are shaped by differences in class, culture, language, migration, and racialization, within the larger dynamics of gender, race, class, and identity (Ley & Murphy, 2001). Lawrence (2007) and George & Ramkissoon (1998) found that rental housing affordability is directly related to discrimination in the case of immigrant women. Women’s  !  22!  quality of life, especially for those residing in poverty, can be significantly improved with better housing conditions and locations (Dion, 2001). In order to make this happen, the Canadian government needs to change gender-neutral policies and programs to be more gender-specific. Women who arrive in Canada with a husband or partner but do not sign a lease may be in a tough position if the family splits and they have not established credit in their own name or have references (Lawrence, 2007). Lawrence (2007) argues that this is a perfect example of how gender-neutral programs and policies discriminate against women without meaning to (Lawrence, 2007; Logan, 2010). Immigrant women who separate from male partners face many hurdles, including housing discrimination. Immigrant women who become homeless can find it very difficult to recover from this extreme degree of social exclusion. A study by Nemiroff, entitled Beyond Rehousing: Community Integration of Women Who Have Experienced Homelessness, found that women often have a hard time becoming re-housed and moving out of poverty (Nemiroff, 2010). Immigrant women often struggle to become integrated into the Canadian economy, especially those with minimal schooling and little income. Nemiroff found that women who have lived through homelessness and are being re-housed do not receive enough assistance to become fully re-integrated into their communities. Many of those who participated in Nemiroff’s study were at risk of returning to social assistance (Nemiroff, 2010). Nemiroff recommended that re-housed women receive on-going support to overcome issues such as substance abuse and disabilities. 2.3.5  Discrimination based on racial or ethnic backgrounds  Immigrant women face many barriers and challenges in today’s housing markets. Most of these barriers and challenges are the outcome of discrimination. Racial and ethnic discrimination  !  23!  presents a huge deterrent for new immigrant women coming to Canada and entering the rental market. Novac (1999) provides an example of a Vietnamese immigrant woman who was refused by a landlord due to her racial and ethnic background. Many immigrants and immigrant women face subtle discrimination in the housing markets in Canada, by landlords, other tenants, or even realtors; these are often referred to as housing ‘gatekeepers’ (Carter et al, 2008; Grant & Danso, 2000). Landlords sometimes schedule a showing, then claim the property is rented when they realize the applicant is not White; that is the source of line “Sorry, it’s already rented”, wellknown to many newcomers. Immigrants and especially immigrant women are not likely to report this type of discrimination, or any discrimination for that matter, due to fear of losing a possible home or getting into trouble when they do not know the rules and laws in their new country (Carter et al., 2008; Novac et al., 2002). Canadian law prohibits discrimination, whether direct or subtly expressed (Novac et al., 2002), however legal remedies are rarely sought or are negligible when pursued. Most Canadian case law deals with discrimination in employment rather than housing discrimination (Novac et al., 2002). Studies have found that when newcomers cannot obtain housing in their preferred neighborhood because of discrimination by landlords or neighbours, newcomers are often left with no choice but to live in a less desirable area (Carter et al., 2008; Dion, 2001; Danso & Grant, 2000). Dion (2001) concluded that housing discrimination creates and maintains residential segregation in a city (Danso & Grant, 2000). Because many newcomers to Canada often feel as though they are cast out, discriminated against, and not welcomed, many choose to reside in ethnic neighborhoods. This has been reported by many researchers in both a positive and negative light. Novac (1999) wrote about this issue taking into consideration whether ethnic enclaves were by-products of racism and  !  24!  exclusion or choices made by immigrants wish to preserve their ethnic and cultural backgrounds within a community they are familiar with and comfortable residing in. Novac found that even though immigrants and refugees sometimes celebrate together and keep their culture alive together, ethnic enclaves are the outcomes of discrimination and racial inequality (Novac, 1999). Housing is the most important factor for immigrant women in Canada. Female-headed households, lone parent families, women, young adults, and the elderly are the most common sub-groups living in low income neighborhoods (Novac, 1999). Being a female, whether she is a mother, single, or has an ethnic background, coupled with having a low income, are all factors reported to decrease the housing options available. Hulchanski, a Canadian scholar whose research focuses on immigrants and refugees in Canada, examined the barriers these groups encounter through the lens of gender, race, class and ethnicity; he states that a newcomer needs to have access to adequate housing upon arrival, proper educational opportunities, and a good income in order to become a successful member of Canadian society (Hulchanski, 1997). Hulchanski argues that access to housing is a formal criterion including the ability to pay (Hulchanski, 1997). Hulchanski categorizes the barriers faced by immigrants and refugees into two main categories (informal criteria), entitled primary and secondary barriers. Hulchanski identifies primary barriers as barriers that one cannot change such as skin color, ethnicity/culture/religion, and gender, whereas secondary barriers are changeable over time and include income level, source of income, knowledge of housing system, language and accents, household size and type, knowledge of culture and institutions, and experience with the dominant culture and institutions (Hulchanski, 1997) (see Figure 2.1).  !  25!  Figure 2.1. Primary and Secondary Barriers for Immigrants. From Hulchanski, 1997, p. 9. These primary and secondary barriers, Hulchanski argues, cause immigrants and refugees to be far worse off than native-born Canadians in seeking housing in Canada (Hulchanski, 1997). A qualitative study undertaken by Meadows, Thurston, and Melton (2001) on immigrant women between the ages of 40 and 65 found that the health and well-being of most of these immigrants suffered after coming to Canada. The main stressors identified in the study were lack of recognition of the women’s foreign credentials, issues with finding employment and proper housing, learning a new language, adjusting to a new culture, and social isolation. Each of these stressors was imposed by the demand of accommodating to Canadian society (Meadows et al., 2001). In Canada, the economy is an important factor in one’s everyday life; people compete for success and wealth and often ignore the disadvantages caused by inequality (Meadows et al., 2001). Social support groups and immigrant groups were important in the immigrant woman’s lives after arriving in Canada, but the women did not want to adopt Canadian norms and cultural  !  26!  norms. These women were more worried about how Canadian culture was impacting their native culture, especially when it came to how women were viewed (Ibid.). 2.3.6  Discrimination based on family and household size  Another common form of discrimination immigrant women encounter in Canada is based on family and household size. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation created a guide for newcomers to Canada, entitled Newcomer’s Guide to Canadian Housing, which explains Canadian customs and traditions and blatantly notes that immigrants will have a hard time finding a rental home and probably will be turned away if they live with extended family or have more than two or three children, which is considered large by Canadian standards (CMHC, 1999). Many immigrants, such as the Tibetan women in Toronto, tend to live with more than two or three people (Logan, 2010). CMHC suggests that renting a house rather than an apartment may be a better option for immigrants with large, extended familie (CMHC, 1999). Some women who are in search of new housing in Canada lie about the number of children they have and resort to hiding their children from their landlords and other neighbors. In most provinces in Canada, it is illegal to refuse to rent to a tenant with children. However, CMHC suggests that if you do have children, it is best to minimize the fact that you have children (CMHC, 1999). In one study cited by Novac and her colleagues (2002), immigrant women who were single or single mothers were offered fewer rental units than single men or single fathers. These women had no idea that they were being discriminated against (Novac et al., 2002). Studies have found that because immigrant women and their families are often discriminated against because of their family and household size. Immigrant women may be better off in a shelter where they feel safe rather than live in bad housing conditions where services and basic amenities are unavailable (Paradis, Novac, Sarty & Hulchanski, 2008).  !  27!  Studies have shown that when high rental demand results in a “landlords’ market”, landlords more often abuse their power and position, engaging in discriminatory practices against applicants (Teixeira, 2010). At times, the decisions landlords make is based on an applicant’s country of origin, immigration status, and race and ethnicity (Teixeira, 2010). Race and ethnicity, however, can also prove to be a basis for community support to newcomers in Canada. Belonging to a community of people who have gone through the same type of struggles and issues allows them to come together and provide support to one another through the tough times (Teixeira, 2008; Tomlins, Johnson & Owen, 2002). 2.4  Summary It is clear from the literature reviewed for this thesis that immigrants in general and  immigrant women in particular face major issues in securing proper rental housing for themselves. Newcomers to Canada are more likely than earlier immigrants or native-born Canadians to be in core housing need (paying more than 30% of their income on housing) and be at risk of homelessness (CMHC, 1999, 2008; Teixeira, 2010). The rental housing situation for new immigrants is often challenging due to many key factors such as low vacancy rates, poor financial situations, unfamiliarity with rules and procedures, and discrimination, and these factors often hinder immigrant women from acquiring adequate, suitable and affordable rental housing. Services also play an important role in attracting and retaining immigrants to areas outside of the larger urban centres in Canada. Immigrants tend to go where there are more services to help them deal with any barriers and challenges they may face upon arrival.  !  28!  Many newcomers find themselves facing housing discrimination upon arrival in Canada. Affordability is a major concern for new arrivals, often leaving them in core housing need. Immigrant women are found to be paying up to 50% of their income on housing (Murdie, 2005). Many immigrants also face discrimination based on their newcomer status which can be detected by their lack of fluency in English, accent, low income, skin color, and source of income, along with ethno-culture behaviours. Immigrant women in particular face additional barriers and challenges due to discrimination based on gender. Some find themselves on the verge of homelessness. Further research is needed on the housing experiences of groups such as immigrant women who are at a disadvantage in Canada’s rental housing market. It is important to understand the role of discrimination to improve immigrant women’s housing conditions in Canada. More attention needs to be given as to how immigrant women are settling into areas outside of the major city centres in Canada. It is important to understand how immigrant women have been welcomed and transitioned into smaller Canadian cities such as that of Kelowna in order to ensure that Kelowna and other mid-size cities in Canada continue to grow in the future. As immigrant women choose to settle in other parts of Canada, it is important to further study and add to the body of literature that is already available based on immigrants in general. Group comparison studies are required to focus on the housing status and experiences of visible minority and non-visible minority immigrant women in order to understand the barriers that exist among certain immigrant groups. More research needs to be undertaken on discrimination and immigrant women in rental housing markets so that the current situation of immigrant women can be better understood and explained. Mid-size cities and small cities in Canada are becoming noticeably more populated with immigrants, therefore it is imperative that more research be done  !  29!  in order to learn how to attract and retain these immigrants to specific regions while also ensuring their successful settlement and integration into Canadian culture. It is important to study the mid-size city of Kelowna’s rental housing experiences and how they affect immigrant women due to the issues that Kelowna has in attracting and retaining new immigrants. Few studies focus on immigrant women’s housing issues, particularly in small and mid-size cities. Therefore this study is original as it looks at a mid-size city- Kelowna, which has a unique population trend. Kelowna is well known for being a predominantly ‘white’ community, with the majority of its population being elderly and retired (65+), and not being able to attract and retain immigrants. Kelowna does not boast many job opportunities or an affordable housing market that would attract newcomer women to the area. From the literature we learn that attracting and retaining immigrants is important for population and economic growth, not only in the larger urban centers in Canada but also the smaller and mid-size ones. If Kelowna hopes to attract and retain immigrants, the municipal government should understand the housing issues they face and service providers need input on immigrants’ needs. More broadly, this study will contribute to the current literature on immigrants and immigrant women in Canada in relation to their housing experiences.  !  !  30!  Chapter 3: Methodology The overall objective of this exploratory case study is to examine the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in the City of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada (see Figure 3.1 for location). Data for this study was generated between May 2012 and July 2012, collected from interviews with 11 key informants and a survey conducted with 32 immigrant women. This chapter will describe the research design of this study, including the procedures and instruments used in the collection of the data and its analysis. 3.1  Study Area The city of Kelowna was chosen as the study area for three main reasons: (a) it is one of  the most expensive housing markets in Canada (Bruegmann, 2011; Press, 2012); (b) its proportion of immigrants is low (16.9%) compared to other cities across Canada (Statistics Canada, 2012b); and (c) the City of Kelowna has a lack of studies dealing with immigrant women and their housing experiences.  !  31!  Figure 3.1. Map of the City of Kelowna and Main Sectors. The study was undertaken within the boundaries of the City of Kelowna (see Figure 3.1). The City of Kelowna is home to 15,840 immigrants 8,605 of them women (City-Data, 2006). Since most immigrants and immigrant women live in the city of Kelowna and not the CMA of Kelowna, the study was focused on those in the city. From 2006 and 2011, Kelowna was the fourth fastest growing city in Canada; its population increased by 10.8%, only slightly behind Saskatoon at 11.4%, Edmonton at 12.1%, and Calgary at 12.6% (Press, 2012). The City of Kelowna’s population grew from 89,445 people in 1996 to 117,312 people in 2011, for a total population increase of 76 percent over 16 years (City of Kelowna,1996; Statistics Canada, 2012a), compared to an 18% increase in the province of British Columbia  !  32!  (Statistics Canada, 2012a). This surge in population growth and urbanization has increased pressure on the City of Kelowna’s rental housing market, increasing the cost of rent due to supply and demand, and contributed to an increase in housing prices. In the past, Kelowna’s rental vacancy rates were quite low, but have since improved, moving up from 3.7% in 2010 to 6.6% in 2011 (CMHC, 2011a). Population growth and urbanization have also affected the City of Kelowna’s housing markets. In the year 2008 the average median home price in Kelowna was reported to be $446,300 with a median pretax household income in the $50,000 range (Michaels, 2012). In comparison, the province of British Columbia’s median average home cost was $532,000 in the first quarter of 2012, with a median pretax household income of $67,000 in 2011 (Living in Canada, 2012). Kelowna’s housing situation improved slightly so far in 2012, with a median pre-tax household income of $58,100, and median house price of $385,100. The median family income for the year 2009 was $67,070, however a family living in the Central Okanagan is deemed to need at least $62,500 to cover the basic necessities (Moore, 2012). In order for an average family of four to reside in the Central Okanagan, the household would need an annual income of $72,000 (Moore, 2012). Housing unaffordability continues to be an issue in the City of Kelowna (Michaels, 2012). Kelowna is rated at 6.6 on the Demographia International Housing Affordability Index. While a rating of 3.0 and under is categorized as being affordable, 5.1 and over is considered severely unaffordable (Bruegmann 2011). The cost of housing in Kelowna’s housing markets determines who can afford to reside here and who cannot (Teixeira, 2009).  !  33!  Demographia’s 2011 report indicates Kelowna’s housing market is one of the top six severely unaffordable cities within Canada, others being, Abbotsford, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. The City of Kelowna reported that in 1991, 11 percent of Kelowna households paid more than 30 percent of their income on rent or mortgage (City of Kelowna, 2006). By the year 2001, the rate increased to 27 percent (City of Kelowna, 2012). The percentage of Kelowna’s homeowners paying 30 percent or more of their income on housing grew to 22.4 percent in the year 2006, whereas the incidence of renters paying 30 percent or more grew to 48.2 percent in the same year (Teixeira, 2009). The province of British Columbia is known for its unaffordability, but not to the same extent as Kelowna. In 2006 43.7 percent of renters in British Columbia were paying 30 percent or more on housing and 22.8 percent of homeowners found themselves in the same position (Teixeira, 2009). 3.2  Study Population The target population for this study was immigrant women living in the City of Kelowna.  To be eligible to participate in this study, firstly, a woman had to be born outside of Canada and be a landed immigrant at the time of the interview. A landed immigrant is defined by Statistics Canada as someone who has been granted the right to permanently reside within Canada by Canadian immigration authorities (Statistics Canada, 2010). Secondly, a woman had to be a renter within the City of Kelowna. Those under the age of 19 and those who were not fluent in English were ineligible. 3.3  Sampling and Data Collection Recruitment of the sample population for this study proved difficult. The residential  dispersion of immigrants in the City of Kelowna and lack of established ethnic communities  !  34!  made the task more difficult. In addition to this, the City of Kelowna along with other settlement agencies and organizations did not have or did not disclose a list of all immigrant women residing in the City of Kelowna. Therefore participants in this study were recruited mainly through personal contacts (snowball sampling technique), local community agencies, religious organizations, ethnic festivals, and by approaching possible participants in public areas such as parks, UBCO, and the Okanagan College. Staff from local settlement agencies provided the researcher with leads as to where potential eligible participants might be found, such as an ethnic festival. The researcher also asked staff from local organizations and agencies to display a poster advertising the study in an attempt to gather recruit more participants, however, staff deemed this approach unlikely to be successful because immigrants would not initiate contact. Instead, they suggested one-on-one outreach, therefore posters where not posted. Direct, person-to-person recruiting and contact relied on the trust of existing relationships and participants were more comfortable filling out the questionnaire for the researcher. Studies show that often immigrants are reluctant to provide information to people they do not know or are not comfortable around. The different sources used allowed the researcher to find participants from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds and cultures. Some of the participants in this study signed the consent form; others chose not to sign the consent for but provided the researcher with oral consent. Due to some participants’ concerns over maintaining anonymity, any potentially identifying information was unrecorded thus it is unclear how many participants were recruited through each of the different organizations, the ethnic festival, personal contacts, churches, or approached in public areas. The design of this exploratory case study and selection of a convenience sample relies on the snowball sampling technique (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). A snowball sampling technique was used to help develop these contacts and to recruit participants for the questionnaire survey  !  35!  (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). This method allows for the researcher to identify additional participants by referrals from participants and key informants; this was especially important as this study population is difficult to locate (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). Once potential respondents were identified, the researcher explained the main purpose of the study and the importance of their participation. Women who accepted the invitation to participate in the study were given a consent form. Most questionnaires were filled out by the participants while the researcher was present, or in some cases, participants asked the researcher to fill in the questionnaire due to their limited knowledge of written English. The target population for this study was hard to identify and locate, however, 32 participants were recruited between May 2012 and July 2012. As an exploratory case study, the goal is not to generalize from the data. A sample of 32 participants is sufficient to illustrate the dominant rental housing experiences of newcomer women in Kelowna. 3.4  Questionnaire Survey Design A survey of immigrant women’s housing experiences was conducted using a  questionnaire that consisted of both open and close-ended questions. Open-ended questions allowed the participants to answer questions in more detail and better express their ideas and thoughts (see Appendix G for the questionnaire outline). The questionnaire covered seven topics:  !  •  demographic information  •  settlement in Kelowna  •  rental housing search process and current rental housing status  36!  3.5  •  housing experiences in Kelowna  •  discrimination in Kelowna  •  recommendations  •  additional demographic data Key Informant Interviews Interviews were conducted with eleven key informants whose expertise provided a better  understanding of Kelowna’s rental housing issues and the services/supports available for immigrant women who are searching for rental housing. Questions and topics were predetermined and asked in a systematic order. The semi-structured interview guide allowed the researcher the latitude to deviate from the predetermined questions, therefore allowing further exploration of the key informants’ responses. Adjustments made to the interview questions were done by reordering or rewording the questions and adding or deleting questions (Berg, 2007). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 informants following an interview guide approach with 11 key informants (see Appendix C for the interview guide). A key informant is classified as someone who is a professional that has expertise on a particular topic, in this case immigrants/women and housing, and is willing to share their knowledge with the researcher (Babbie, 2010). The key informants included in this study are employed by various types of organizations that work with immigrants or immigrant women in Kelowna’s rental housing market and are familiar with immigrant women’s housing experiences. They are community leaders, immigrant settlement workers, planners, city officials, immigrant employment workers, housing service providers, and non-governmental organization leaders. A list of key informants was identified by  !  37!  a search using the ‘Google’ search engine (google.com), government websites, personal contacts and the local phone book’s yellow page directory. The key informants were first contacted by telephone, e-mail, or a postal letter to introduce the researcher and the purpose of the study. They then received a letter by post or email that outlined the objectives of the study and requested their participation in the study. Once key informants agreed to participate in the interview, a time and location, (usually their place of work) was chosen by the interviewees. The interviews lasted 30 minutes on average. The 11 key informant interviews were conducted between May 2012 and June 2012 in Kelowna. Each interview was tape-recorded, transcribed, coded, organized and analyzed by theme. During the key informant recruitment process, 22 organizations involved in immigrant settlement, women services, or housing were contacted for interviews. Out of these, eight organizations accepted the invitation to participate. Of these service providers, 10 key informants volunteered for interviews. All religious organizations in Kelowna were contacted by the researcher. Only one, the Church of God, had a key person available for an interview. Key informants were chosen because they either worked directly with immigrants, immigrant women or housing services in Kelowna. Service providers were an important source of information for this study. Because many of these organizations provide help for immigrants searching for appropriate housing in Kelowna, they were able to identify what services were being provided for immigrants and immigrant women in Kelowna, along with offering information about the rental housing experiences of these immigrant women. Each audio-recorded interview was transcribed verbatim into textual form (Babbie, 2010). Transcribed interviews were then analyzed by the researcher who then selected quotes  !  38!  according to themes. The themes were: (a) immigrant services, (b) cultural diversity, (c) settlement and housing barriers, (e) race and discrimination, (f) coping strategies employed, (g) homelessness, and (h) recommendations. 3.6  Limitations of the Study Due to the small sample size collected for this study, the main limitation is its  generalizability. However, since this is an exploratory case study, the goal is not to generalize to the larger population, so this is not an issue (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). Other limitations of the study include volunteer bias by the participants and sampling bias. A volunteer bias may have occurred due to the differences between those who agree to participate and those who declined (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). A sampling bias also may have occurred because initial participants suggested additional participants with similar traits, characteristics, and experiences to themselves (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). The sample was not randomly selected and therefore not equally balanced or objectively presented (Creswell, 2009). Community organization staff also helped identify possible participants, therefore creating a sample bias towards clients of services as opposed to immigrant women who do not use such services. 3.7  Summary The purpose of this chapter was to justify the choice of study area and the target  population and describe the research design and data collection process. The study area for this study is the City of Kelowna, with one of the most expensive housing markets in Canada. The city is known for not attracting too many immigrants.  !  39!  Immigrant women and their rental housing experiences have been largely understudied in Canada. Much less is known about their rental housing barriers and coping strategies in mid-size cities than in the gateway cities. Within this context, Kelowna is the ideal “social laboratory” to conduct a study of this nature. This study will therefore fill gaps in the literature about the barriers immigrant women face as well as the coping strategies they use to deal with Kelowna’s expensive rental housing market.  !  40!  Chapter 4: Settlement into the City of Kelowna 4.1  Introduction Immigration to Canada has surged in recent years as a result of the government’s priority  to boost population growth while at the same time stimulating Canada’s economic growth. Immigrants arrive in Canada from a diverse range of countries throughout the world. On arrival, immigrants most often choose to settle into Canada’s “gateway” cities: Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal (Statistics Canada, 2012a). Due to this patterns of migration and settlement, past research has mainly focused on these regions and less priority has been placed on Canada’s smaller and mid-size cities, however, some studies have focused on immigrant settlement in smaller urban centres and how it differs from that in the gateway cities (Depner, 2011; Teixeira, 2009, 2010, 2011; Walton-Roberts, 2005). The settlement process and housing experiences of immigrants, more specifically immigrant women, in small and mid-size cities is therefore a topic of interest in the Canadian immigrant literature. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the migration and settlement of 32 immigrant women in the mid-size city of Kelowna, British Columbia. This chapter provides a detailed summary of the barriers and challenges that these immigrant women faced during their settlement in the city. Kelowna is a mid-size city located in the heart of the Okanagan Valley in the interior of British Columbia. Urbanization and population growth since the 1970s has made Kelowna the main economic engine and urban centre in the valley (Hessing, 2011). The city of Kelowna’s population grew from 89,445 people in 1996 to 117,312 people in 2011, for a total population increase of 76% over 16 years (City of Kelowna, 1996; Statistics Canada, 2012a). It is now the second fastest growing census metropolitan area (CMA) in British Columbia. Kelowna is a popular place, a year-round playground with mild winters and hot summers, perfect for retirees  !  41!  and international tourists. According to the most recent census (2011), Kelowna’s population continues to steadily increase. However, the population is aging at the same time. The CMA of Kelowna is already in a unique situation in that there is no natural increase in population; death and birth rates are almost equal, but death rates are projected to outnumber birth rates by 2019 (Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission [COEDC], 2011). As mentioned in Chapter 1, migration to the City of Kelowna has been largely domestic, however this is currently changing as more international immigrants choose to migrate to Kelowna, creating a gradual shift towards more diversity in the City of Kelowna. Settling into a mid-size city in the interior of British Columbia can prove to be a difficult transition for immigrants in general and immigrant women in particular. These challenges are reflected in the lack of established ethnic communities such as those that are more prevalent and established in the larger gateway cities (Teixeira, 2009, 2010). The research varies as to whether or not the presence of an integrated ethnic community benefits immigrants. Some scholars argue that immigrant integration is more difficult where ethnic communities are present due to the likelihood of them not participating with others outside of their ethnic community therefore not integrating, whereas other scholars view ethnic communities as supportive for newcomers who can receive help from members of their own community while gradually integrating into a new society (Carter et al., 2008; Cook & Pruegger, 2003; Derwing & Krahn, 2008; Owusu, 1999; Teixeira, 2009). Several Canadian scholars have reported that immigrant groups differ in the extent to which they rely on their own ethnic network (i.e., relatives and friends from the same ethnic background). Those who do rely on their own ethnic networks may find it eases their integration  !  42!  into a new society, including access to affordable housing on arrival (Carter et al., 2008; Cook & Pruegger, 2003; Derwing & Krahn, 2008; Owusu, 1999; Teixeira, 2009). Studies show that the successful integration of immigrants into places outside of Canada’s major gateway cities is associated with better housing affordability, educational opportunities, higher incomes, better social services, more diversity of culture, and the support of friends and families (social networks) and a “welcoming community” (Carter et al., 2008; Cook & Pruegger, 2003; Derwing & Krahn, 2008; Teixeira, 2009). These factors can help newcomers deal with some of the barriers and challenges of settling into a new area (Depner, 2011; Owusu, 1999). They may be of greater importance for immigrant women because they are more vulnerable due to discrimination based on sex, income source, income level, and marital status. The next section presents respondents’ socio-demographic profile, origin/background, arrival status, educational attainment levels, age, income and household structure. 4.2  Socio-Demographic Profile of Questionnaire Sample This section provides a detailed analysis of 32 respondents to a questionnaire survey. The  socio-demographic profiles that are examined and provided in more detail are: (a) country of origin; (b) immigration class and year of arrival; (c) age structure, marital status, household; and (d) educational attainment and income. The 32 respondents for this study come from a variety of countries, though there is a particular concentration of respondents from Asian Countries (43.8%) as well as European Countries (25%). Most of the respondents (68.8%) came directly to Kelowna as their first place of arrival in Canada. The remainder lived in Vancouver and other places in the Okanagan Valley prior to settling in Kelowna. The respondents had lived in Kelowna for six years on average.  !  43!  4.2.1  Country of origin  The respondents originated from 17 different countries, with the majority of them coming from the continents of Asia and Europe. Fourteen respondents (43.8%) came from Asia, including five from the Philippines, two from China and Japan and one each from South Korea, Iran, Taiwan, Bangladesh and India. Another eight respondents (25%) came from Europe, including five from Germany, and one each from Poland, England and Russia. Of the remaining respondents, five originated from Central America, two from Africa, and two from South American. When asked to identify their ethnic background, 28.1% indicated they were White, 21.9% were Black, 15.6% were Filipino, and the remainder varied in ethnicity. 4.2.2  Year of arrival into Canada and immigration class  The majority of respondents (84.4%) are recent immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2012. The highest number of them (37.5%) arrived between the years 2009 and 2012. One-quarter of the respondents arrived in Canada between 2005 and 2008 (Table 4.1). Table 4.1 Respondents’ Year of Arrival to Canada Year of Arrival! !  Immigrant Women N=25*! N! %! 3! 9.4! 2! 6.3! 8! 25! 12! 37.5!  1950-1990! 1991-2000! 2005-2008! 2009-2012! Note. *No Answer=7. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  When asked to describe their immigration status, the immigration class selected most often by the respondents was that of family class (84.4%), followed by dependent class (9.4%). Only two women arrived independent of family (see Table 4.2).  !  44!  Table 4.2 Respondents Immigration Class on Arrival in Canada Immigration Status Upon Arrival in Canada! !  Family Class! Other Independent! Refugee or Designated Class ! Independent, Assisted by Relatives! Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  Immigrant Women N=32! N! %! 27! 84.4! 3! 9.4! 1! 3.1! 1! 3.1!  All of the respondents were landed immigrants in Canada. More than two-thirds (68.8%) of the respondents came directly to Kelowna whereas the remaining respondents (31.3%) resided in another city in Canada prior to moving to Kelowna. The women were asked if they knew anyone in Kelowna prior to their arrival. A total of 65.6% of the respondents reported that they knew people in Kelowna, relatives or friends from the same ethnic background. The remaining 11 respondents (34.4%) indicated that they knew no one on arrival in the City of Kelowna. 4.2.3  Age structure, marital status and household  When they arrived in Canada, most of the respondents (56.3%) were between the ages of 21 and 30. When respondents were asked who had accompanied them to Canada from their original country, 40.6% indicated that they had arrived in Canada alone. However, when respondents were asked about their current martial status is, more than half of the respondents (56.3%) in this study reported being single, 28.1% were married, while another 12.5% indicated they were in a common-law relationship. Regarding household size, 84.4% of respondents reported that they lived with at least one other person; 15.6% lived alone. On average, the households in this study had three persons per household, with 65.6% having an occupancy rate of two to four people in a single dwelling. The  !  45!  most common type of rented dwellings reported by respondents (19 out of 32 or 59.4%) in this study was apartments, condominiums and townhomes. 4.2.4  Educational attainment and income  The respondents’ educational attainment was high in comparison to other studies (see, Teixeira, 2009, 2011). Half of the respondents (50%) reported having obtained a university degree. The second highest level of educational attainment was some post-secondary including diplomas and apprenticeships, with 43.8% having some university education. Only 6.3% respondents reported their highest level of education was a high school diploma (Table 4.3). Table 4.3 Respondents Educational Attainment Level of Education Attainment ! !  university degree! some post-secondary including diploma, apprenticeship, and some university! high school diploma! Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  Immigrant Women N=32! N! %! 16! 50.0! 14! 2!  43.8! 6.3!  Despite their high levels of education, the majority of the respondents reported low total household incomes. Just over half of the respondents (53.1%) earned between $10,000 and $30,000 in 2011. Nearly one quarter of respondents (21.9%) earned less than $10,000 as their household income for the past year (Table 4.4).  !  46!  Table 4.4 Respondent’s Total Household income for 2011 Total Household Income for 2011! !  Less than $10,000! $10,001-$20,000! $20,001-$30,000! $30,001-$40,000! $40,001-$50,000! $50,001-$75,000! Note. *No Answer=1. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  !  Immigrant Women N=31*! N! %! 7! 21.9! 8! 25.0! 9! 28.1! 2! 6.3! 3! 9.4! 2! 6.3!  47!  The participants’ high level of educational attainment and low incomes is not a pattern unique to the situation in Kelowna. More than half of the respondents (62.5%) arrived in Canada between the years 2005 and 2012. A nationwide pattern has been observed in which the higher rate of unemployment among recent immigrants and the low level of job skill requirements among employed recent immigrants does not reflect their comparatively high level of education. Recent immigrants encounter greater difficulties in the labour market and their earnings are substantially lower than native-born Canadians in general (Galarneau and Morissette 2008). A recent analysis of immigrant integration into Toronto’s labour market highlights the fact that “[i]mmigrant women, in particular, appear to do poorly in the job market, and skilled immigrants often wind up in jobs that are usually held by less skilled, Canadian-born workers” (Preston, Damsbaek, Kelly, Lemoine, Lo, Shields, and Tufts 2010, p.1). An international comparison by the OECD of immigrant integration rates Canada highly overall, but attributes the greater difficulties faced by recent immigrants to mismatches in labour skill criteria used for selection by the federal government, as well as Canada’s “poor score on housing affordability, partly because of its high prices and partly because publicly subsidized housing is much more prevalent in Europe. The relative disadvantage of immigrant has been increasing, rather than decreasing, since 2000” (Friesen 2012). Another reason for the low income levels despite high education may be related to the fact that 68.8% of respondents came directly to Kelowna and 65.6% knew someone already residing in Kelowna. Many of these immigrant women were likely drawn to Kelowna for the support of friends and family that would make integrating into a new society easier; they did not choose a city with good job opportunities and available affordable housing. ! !  48!  4.3  Settlement Barriers and Challenges Immigrant women choosing to settle in the mid-size city of Kelowna may find the  settling process difficult due to a lack of social support networks available directed specifically at new immigrant women. A lack of information about Kelowna represented one of the largest challenges, with 62.5% of the respondents citing this as the most important barrier they faced on arrival in Kelowna (Table 4.5). Table 4.5 Respondents Barriers and Challenges during the Settlement Processing Settlement Barriers and Challenges! !  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 20! 62.5!  I did not have any information about Kelowna! My work experience from overseas was not recognized in 18! 56.3! Kelowna! My education from overseas was not recognized in Kelowna! 18! 56.3! I did not receive any help from community organizations or 17! 53.1! agencies (e.g., settlement services).! My social networks (friends, family, ethnic community) are 16! 50.0! lacking in Kelowna! I have had difficulty finding a place to live in Kelowna! 14! 43.8! I have had difficulty finding a job in Kelowna! 12! 37.5! I do not feel welcome in my community! 11! 34.4! Banks or creditors did not provide me with credit or money (i.e., 10! 31.3! loans)! Note. *The respondents in this category who reported “true” to the barriers/challenges for settlement into the City of Kelowna listed above was a sum of the respondents who reported “true” and “somewhat true” in the questionnaire survey. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Having accurate information about a city is important for immigrant women to plan and facilitate their settlement in a new area. Smaller communities tend to lack social support networks and ethnic communities compared to larger cities such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, and thus information is harder to come by.  !  49!  The second greatest barrier encountered by the women was the lack of recognition for their overseas work experience, affecting 56.3% of respondents (see Table 4.5). One key informant touched on the issue: “I’ve seen sometimes trained people who back in their country were highly trained, but who here are now and not able to get into the workforce because they haven’t written the Canadian test … I had a guy come to our door once, delivered a pizza, and he was a heart surgeon. I asked him, “What are you doing delivering pizza? And he said, “They won’t accept me [my job qualifications].” An equally common issue as disregarded work history was the lack of recognition of formal education completed overseas; 56.3% of the respondents reported that their educational background was not acknowledged (see Table 4.5). Just over half (53.1%) of the respondents indicated that on arrival in Kelowna they received no help from the local community organizations or agencies (settlement services). Lack of strong social networks (friends, family and ethnic communities) in Kelowna was also pointed out as a major barrier by 50% of the respondents. Overall, lack of information about the City of Kelowna, including its complex housing market, was by far the most important barrier encountered by immigrant women when first settling in Kelowna. However, when respondents were asked how they overcame the barrier of not having information on Kelowna, close to two-thirds of the women (65.6%) reported that with hard work and support from their friends and family, they were able to find a place to live. Accordingly, they indicated they did not have difficulty finding a residence. In several cases, respondents shared their first residence with relatives and friends, thus easing their integration. Half of the respondents also cited having insufficient social networks in Kelowna. This is a major component as to why some immigrant women have a harder time integrating. Previous  !  50!  studies focusing on immigrants in the City of Kelowna (Teixeira, 2009; 2011) have shown that a “welcoming” community is extremely important in a newcomer’s life in Canada. Larger cities in Canada such as Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto have no difficulty in attracting newcomers because they can provide a feeling of belonging, which Kelowna still lacks but is gradually overcoming. Lack of information about the city and its housing markets and settlement services may be in part due to the way information is presented. Interviews with key informants identified several places in Kelowna where services are available for immigrants, but not specifically for immigrant women. These services are available in a select few languages, making it difficult for some immigrant women to make use of these services. Services such as ESL courses are available for immigrants in Kelowna. Key informants mentioned a lack of knowledge about these services as a major reason for these services not being utilized. A key informant, a settlement worker, suggested that certain ethnic immigrant groups tend to not make use of outside services, but depend on one another as part of their culture. Overall, the availability of settlement services in the City of Kelowna is considered sufficient by most of the key informants. In summary, immigrant women in Kelowna referenced many barriers to integration, including a lack of information about the city and its housing markets and settlement services, no recognition for their work experience and formal education completed overseas, little assistance from community settlement organizations, and sparse social networks. The next section examines the most difficult barriers encountered by the women and ranked by their importance.  !  51!  4.4  Settlement Challenges Ranked By Importance While respondents faced many obstacles during the initial settlement process, when asked  for the greatest challenge they faced when settling in Kelowna, finding a suitable job ranked highest by 28.1% of the women, followed by finding affordable housing (25%), and lack of a “welcoming community” (15.6%) (Table 4.6). Table 4.6 Greatest Barrier or Challenge Faced when Settling in Kelowna Settlement Challenges Ranked by Importance! !  Finding a suitable job! Housing unaffordability! Unwelcoming community/lack of integration! Unrecognized education! Lack of Social networks! Transportation! Note. *No Answer=2. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  Immigrant Women N=30*! N! %! 9! 28.1! 8! 25.0! 5! 15.6! 4! 12.5! 3! 9.4! 1! 3.1!  One of the women declared that, “Canada should be looking out for new immigrants because they need us for certain jobs …. It’s not hard to find any job, but a suitable job, it is hard.” This difficulty in finding a suitable job can often have a negative effect on other areas of their life such as becoming integrated and creating bonds through social networks (Teixeira, 2009). Recent immigrants who settle in Kelowna may have experienced greater challenges finding a suitable job than immigrants who have lived in Canada for a longer period of time (Teixeira, 2009, 2011), possibly because their English language skills improve over time. The key informants often stated that the biggest hurdle immigrant women face when coming to Kelowna is the language barrier, hindering their ability to find a suitable job. Learning English is  !  52!  difficult for newcomers, especially while trying to find a job. These three barriers/challenges — finding a suitable job, housing unaffordability and an unwelcoming community/lack of integration — all mentioned by respondents can have a negative effect on an immigrant’s integration when coming to Kelowna. 4.5  Summary Immigrants, and in particular women immigrants, face many challenges in settling and  integrating into their chosen community in settling in Kelowna. These challenges and barriers are particularly evident in the experience of immigrant women in Canada. Women from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds reported having similar issues and challenges and highlighted several key obstacles. The greatest challenge these women faced was having insufficient information about the city of Kelowna, including information about the local housing market and settlement agencies. However, they also reported that the inability to gain appropriate recognition for their overseas education and work experience was a major problem in finding suitable, well-paying work. In addition, they identified receiving inadequate support from community organizations and agencies. Information they need is not widely available, and services specific to immigrant women are almost non-existent. The facilitation and creation of a welcoming community is a significant element that works to ensure a successful integration into a new community. The respondents in this study clearly indicated that they felt hampered by the lack of such a community in Kelowna. Some barriers proved to be more significant than others. The inability to find sufficient and suitable work was the most important obstacle faced by the respondents. Kelowna has an insufficient number of suitable jobs for immigrant women, partly due to the lack of recognition  !  53!  of foreign work experience and education, forcing immigrants into low pay brackets. The importance of finding and maintaining a suitable job is an essential factor in one’s settlement process. Underemployment and low income largely determine the quality of housing one is able to acquire, especially in an unpredictable rental housing market such as that currently in Kelowna. Unaffordable housing was also cited as a concern by some of the respondents. The third-ranked issue was an unwelcoming community; unrecognized education and a lack of social networks ranked fourth and fifth as concerns. The results presented in this chapter indicate that women immigrants face significant challenges and barriers in their immigration and settlement in Kelowna. In order to facilitate a more positive experience, these obstacles need to be addressed fully. Without sufficient resources and settlement supports, immigration to Kelowna becomes a less attractive option. At a time when immigration is vital to the continued success of Kelowna as a community, the successful integration of immigrants must be a priority. Given that the majority of available jobs are in sectors primarily dominated by women, the experience of immigrant women in particular needs to be addressed. Since housing was the second-ranked challenge, the next chapter zeroes in on the housing experience of immigrant women to shed more light on this major barrier to successful integration.  !  54!  Chapter 5: The Housing Experiences of Immigrant Women in Kelowna 5.1  Introduction Housing plays a key role in immigrants’ settlement and integration (Teixeira & Li, 2009),  however, little research to date has examined the rental housing experience of immigrant women in small and medium-size cities. The purpose of this chapter is to examine several key aspects in the rental housing experiences of 32 immigrant women living in Kelowna, British Columbia: •  The housing search process.  •  Barriers and challenges in the rental housing experience.  •  Discrimination in the rental housing market.  •  Coping strategies to deal with the rental housing barriers and challenges.  5.1.1  Current housing profile  The immigrant women respondents’ housing profiles showed a diverse range of household structures and housing statuses. On average, the respondents in this study (n=32) have lived in the City of Kelowna for approximately six years. More than half of the respondents (59.4%) lived in apartments, condominiums, or townhouses. The household data indicated that 84.4% of the respondents lived with at least one other person. Only 15.6% reported that they lived by themselves. Twenty-one households contained two to four people, for an average of three persons per household. Six respondents (18.8%) indicated that they shared accommodations with four or more people (Table 5.1).  !  55!  Table 5.1 Respondents per Household Number of People per Household!  Immigrant Women N=32! ! N! %! 1! 5! 15.6! 2! 14! 43.8! 3! 3! 9.4! 4! 4! 12.5! more than 4! 6! 18.8! Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Although more than half of the respondents in this study answered that they lived with more than one person, when respondents were asked about how comfortable their current rental residence is, 87.5% of the respondents indicated their place was comfortable, with just enough room (Table 5.2). Table 5.2 Respondents Current Residence Current Residence! !  Comfortable with just enough room! Overcrowded with too many people living together in one place! Too big for my current household!  Immigrant Women N=32! N! %! 28! 87.5! 3! 9.4! 1!  3.1!  Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012! City locale did not affect the relative contentment with their living space, as the settlement of applicants is spread out across the city. The respondents lived in three main areas in Kelowna: Rutland (31.1%), Central City (28.1%) and South Pandosy (21.9%). Less popular places of residence were Mission, Glenmore and Black Mountain, with only one respondent living in each (Table 5.3).  !  56!  Table 5.3 Respondents Current Rental Residence Current Rental Residence! !  Rutland! Central City! South Pandosy Other areas!  Immigrant Women N=32! N! %! 10! 31.3! 9! 28.1! 7 21.9 6! 18.8!  Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012! None of the respondents indicated that they resided outside the core of the City of Kelowna. When participants in this study were asked to indicate where they had searched for rental properties, 56.3% noted they had searched in Rutland, 53.1% in Central City, 31.3% in Glenmore, 28.1% in South Okanagan Mission, and 28.1% in North Okanagan Mission (Table 5.4) Table 5.4 Areas of Search for Rental Housing within the City of Kelowna Areas Searched for Rental Housing! !  Rutland! Central City! Glenmore! North Okanagan Mission! South Okanagan Mission! South Pandosy! Black Mountain! Highway 97! Southeast Kelowna!  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 18! 56.3! 17! 53.1! 10! 31.3! 9! 28.1! 9! 28.1! 6! 18.8! 5! 15.6! 3! 9.4! 3! 9.4!  Note. *Respondents were able to indicate more than one area searched for rentals within the City of Kelowna. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  !  57!  According to the 2011 Canadian census, Rutland, where close to one-third of the surveyed immigrant women lived, had one of the highest unemployment rates along with the lowest income levels in Kelowna for that year (Statistics Canada, 2011). In the next section, the housing search process in the different sectors of Kelowna is explored in greater detail. 5.2  The Housing Search Process The search for affordable housing suitable to their needs is considered a crucial first step  of an immigrant’s integration into a new city. Recent studies have shown that access to adequate, suitable and affordable housing is essential for a successful settlement experience (Teixeira, 2009). Although there is a lack of research specifically exploring the challenges immigrant women face in the housing search process in small- and medium-size cities, general research on discrimination in large urban areas in Canada can be extrapolated to show that immigrant women tend to have more difficulties with the rental housing search process due to barriers and challenges including discrimination based on sex, income level, income source, and marital status. When participants in this study were asked about their rental housing search experiences and the barriers and challenges they faced, most of them reported that they faced obstacles: 84.4% said rents were too high; 50% said they lacked enough information about rental housing laws, regulations and procedures; 46.9% cited vacancy rates were too low; and 43.4% found the rental homes unsuitable (Table 5.5).  !  58!  Table 5.5 Barriers/ Challenges Faced in the Housing Search Process Barriers and Challenges! !  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 27! 84.4!  Rental costs are too high (unaffordable)! I did not have any information about rental housing laws, regulations and procedures! 16! 50.0! There is not enough rental housing (low vacancy rates)! 15! 46.9! The rental homes in Kelowna are unsuitable for my household! 14! 43.4! I have experienced other forms of discrimination (gender, income, immigration status)! 7! 21.9! I have experienced racial discrimination while searching for rental housing! 6! 18.8! Other (Specify). Being a young female! 1! 3.1! Note. *The respondents in this category selected “true” or “somewhat true” to each statement about the barriers/challenges they faced in the rental housing search process. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Settlement services for immigrants are limited in Kelowna. Many of the immigrant  service providers contacted in this study did not specifically have services available dealing with housing for immigrants. This lack of resources can make the housing search process long and difficult as immigrants navigate Kelowna’s complicated and expensive rental market. In 2011, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $734 and $914 for a two-bedroom, as reported by CMHC for the CMA of Kelowna (CMHC, 2011b). For the year 2011, the CMA of Kelowna experienced the greatest change in rental vacancy rate of cities in British Columbia. Between April 2010 and April 2011, Kelowna’s vacancy rates increased to 6.6 per cent up from 3.7 per cent only a year earlier (CMHC, 2011b). In addition, immigrants need to understand the various housing rules and regulations. Housing assistance services are available in Kelowna, but these are not specific to the immigrant community and were underutilized by the respondents in this study. When asked how difficult it was to get professional help to find a rental place in Kelowna, 68.9% of the respondents indicated that they did not seek these services. One-quarter of the  !  59!  respondents found it easy to find help. According to a key informant who works in the real estate market, services are attuned to an immigrant’s needs because there is ethnic diversity in the workforce: “I do know that there are real estate agents who come from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds and … I think that newcomers to our community would be able to find a real estate [agent] … who would be more sensitive and aware of their cultural issues.” Immigrant women tend to deal with Kelowna’s rental housing market issue by seeking out assistance from friends and family. When respondents were asked if they knew anyone in Kelowna prior to their arrival, about two-thirds (65.6%) indicated they did know someone. When asked to indicate how easy or difficult it was to find information on rental housing in Kelowna, 75% of respondents indicated it was “very easy” or “somewhat easy” (see Table 5.6). Table 5.6 Ease of Obtaining Information about Rental Housing Vacancies Level of Access!  Immigrant Women N=32*! ! N! %! Very easy/ somewhat easy! 24! 75! Very difficult/ somewhat difficult! 8! 25! Note. *The number of respondents who selected “very easy” ,“somewhat easy”, “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult” with regard to their search for rental housing vacancy information in Kelowna. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Most of the respondents (65.6%) relied on the help of friends and family, which may account for high rate of ease. They tended not to seek assistance from local agencies; this may have been due to their comfort in asking friends and family over asking unfamiliar people for information.  !  60!  5.2.1  Search for current rental residence  The housing search efforts of the women in this study were measured by the number of homes they inspected and the length of time involved in finding their current rental residence. About half of the respondents (53.1%) reported taking 60 days, on average, to find their current residence, clearly showing they had difficulties finding a place to live. The remaining respondents (46.9%) had quicker search times, of as little as one week. The 32 respondents inspected a total of 132 rental residences, about four each. When asked about overall satisfaction with their current residence, the majority (93.8%) of respondents indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied; only 6.3% of the respondents indicated any kind of dissatisfaction (see Table 5.7). Due to the high cost of housing and limited availability of rental homes, the women had few options or choices of residence. Although respondents indicated their finances were tight, suggesting a limited selection of residences to choose from, 93.8% indicated they were satisfied with their current residence. Affordability and accessibility of suitable housing conditions was a great concern for the respondents in this study. Table 5.7 Respondents’ Satisfaction with Current Residence Current Residence Satisfaction! !  Very satisfied/satisfied! Dissatisfied! Very dissatisfied! Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012!  Immigrant Women N=32! N! %! 30! 93.8! 1! 3.1! 1! 3.1!  Most of the women (84.4%) were similarly satisfied or very satisfied with their current neighborhood (Table 5.8). Very few (15.6%) showed dissatisfaction with their neighborhood (see Table 5.8).  !  61!  Table 5.8 Respondent’s Satisfaction with Neighborhood Neighborhood Satisfaction! !  Very satisfied/satisfied! Dissatisfied! Very dissatisfied! Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  Immigrant Women N=32! N! %! 27! 84.4! 3! 9.4! 2! 6.3!  The reasons mentioned for their satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction with their neighborhood included having friendly neighbors/neighborhood (50%), being close to amenities (25%), the quietness (21.9%), and the safety (15.6%) of the neighborhood (Table 5.9). Few mentioned any dissatisfaction with their neighbourhood. Table 5.9 Reasons for Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction with Neighbourhood Reasons for Neighborhood Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction !  Immigrant Women N=32*! ! N! %! Friendly neighbors/neighborhood! 16! 50.0! Close to amenities! 8! 25.0! Quietness! 7! 21.9! Safe! 5! 15.6! Not quite (noisy)! 4! 12.5! Unsafe! 3! 9.4! Unfriendly! 2! 6.3! Clean! 2! 6.3! Note. *The respondents in this category were able to select more than one reason for neighbourhood satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! As for landlords, 17 respondents (53.1%) indicated that they were very satisfied with the services provided by their landlords, and another 12 (37.5%) of respondents were satisfied, whereas only 9.3% of respondents indicated any sort of dissatisfaction.  !  62!  5.2.2  Locating current residence  The participants in this study were asked what sources they used to find rental housing in Kelowna. A total of 53.1% used the Internet to find housing, 34.4% sought assistance from friends with the same ethnic backgrounds, and 21.9% were helped by relatives (Table 5.10). Table 5.10 Sources Used to Find Current Residence Sources Used for Current Rental Residence Search !  Immigrant Women N=32*!  !  N! %! Internet! 17! 53.1! Friends from same ethnic background! 11! 34.4! Relatives! 7! 21.9! Driving around! 5! 15.6! Canadian newspapers/bulletins! 5! 15.6! ‘for rent’ signs! 3! 9.4! Note. * The respondents were able to answer more than once source used to find their current rental residence. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012! The women were asked to indicate the most helpful source in finding their current residence. The Internet was considered the most helpful source by 50% of the respondents indicating this source, but almost as many relied on assistance from friends and relative at 46.9% (Table 5.11).  !  63!  Table 5.11 Most Helpful Sources for Finding Current Rental Residence Most Helpful Sources for Finding Current Rental Home !  Immigrant Women N=32*! ! N! %! Internet! 16! 50.0! Friends/Relatives! 15! 46.9! Newspaper! 2! 6.3! Signs! 1! 3.1! Churches! 1! 3.1! School! 1! 3.1! *Respondents were able to indicate more than one source that was helpful for finding current rental residence. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Overall, a significant number of the women in this study seemed to prefer receiving assistance from friends and family when searching for a place to live; few of them sought professional services. The respondents relied on their social networks of friends and family, placing value on the benefit of familiarity (and perhaps, trust). A church leader who was interviewed as a key informant mentioned that members of her ethnic group typically assist newcomers from the same background and encourage newly arrived immigrants to come to them first rather than use outside information sources. She noted: “People from my home country, we try to stick together and help one another …. When my parents needed help on the farm, people came to help us, even for free, because we help one another.” Most of the women in this study found the process of finding rental housing timeconsuming and difficult. Informal sources of information were preferred over governmental or non-governmental organizations, and agencies such as settlement agencies were not used. Their reasons for not using available services were unclear. Further research exploring the level of access and availability of these services is needed to clarify the reasons for their underutilization.  !  64!  However, some extrapolations can be made based on the data collected. It seems evident that cultural factors play a role in respondents not accessing governmental or non-governmental services. Some ethnic groups, notably East Indians, are not accustomed to receiving or expecting help from outside sources, and those who have been living in Canada for a longer period of time may be less inclined to use services as they become more integrated and familiar with the housing system in Canada. 5.3  The Rental Housing Experience: Barriers and Challenges in Kelowna’s Housing Market Studies have shown that immigrants face barriers and challenges when settling in  Canadian cities and searching for affordable, suitable housing (Carter et al., 2008; Murdie, 2010; Teixeira, 2008). The rental housing experiences of immigrants in mid-size cities have been little studied. Kelowna is known for its housing affordability problems, and respondents in this study expressed their concerns on this and related issues. Most of women in this study, 84.4%, reported that rents are too high and unaffordability is their predominant concern (see Table 5.12).  !  65!  Table 5.12 Barriers/Challenges in Obtaining Housing Barrier/Challenge ! !  Rental costs are too high (unaffordable)! I did not have any information about rental housing laws, regulations and procedures! There is not enough rental housing (low vacancy rates)! The rental homes in Kelowna are unsuitable for my household! I have experienced other forms of discrimination (gender, income, immigration status)! I have experienced racial discrimination while searching for rental housing!  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 27! 84.4! 16! 50.0! 15! 14! 8!  46.9! 43.8! 25.0!  6!  18.8!  Note. * Respondents in this category were able to select more than one barrier/challenge faced in Kelowna’s rental housing market. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Half (50%) of the respondents indicated that they lacked information about rental housing laws, regulations and procedures. Almost as many (46.9%) felt there was not enough rental housing available in Kelowna, and 43.8% indicated that the available rental housing was unsuitable for their household. It is important to note that at least 14 respondents (43.8%) felt they were discriminated against by landlords when looking for rental housing in Kelowna. 5.3.1  Income and affordability  The women were asked about the greatest challenge or barrier they faced in obtaining housing in Kelowna: 84.4% of the respondents indicated that unaffordability was the primary issue. In fact, 59.4% of them were spending in excess of 30% of their household income on housing costs; another 31.3% were spending between 15 and 30% (see Table 5.13).  !  66!  Table 5.13 Percentage of Total Monthly Income Spent on Housing Total % of Monthly Income Spent on Housing ! !  15-30%! 31-45%! 46-60%! 76-90%!  Immigrant Women N=29*! N! %! 10! 31.3! 11! 34.4! 4! 12.5! 4! 12.5!  Note. *No Answer=3. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.! Those who indicated that they spent more than 30% of their income on housing are considered to be in core housing need (CMHC, 2011b). Eight respondents (25%) are in extreme core housing need, spending from 46 to 90% of their income on housing and are at risk of becoming homeless. As previously indicated, those who live in unaffordable housing (spending more than 30% of their income on housing) may be forced to cut back on other essentials such as food and clothing The following comment is representative of the views expressed by the key informants who are settlement workers: “The vacancy rates in Kelowna have historically been bad. So that means if you are from any disadvantaged group or if you have lower income, [it] will be hard to find adequate housing. It might be impossible, you may have to settle. As well, because the housing situation has been tight … people, [those] with families in particular, may just not be able to afford a decent place.” Another key informant, a social worker, stated that “just finding [a place with] affordable rent, period, would be the biggest problem because there’s really nothing …. So they’re very  !  67!  limited in what’s available, and quite often they end up in squalor type places or they have to share.” 5.3.2  Degree of difficulty encountered in the rental housing market  When respondents were asked to indicate how easy or difficult various aspects of their housing experience were, 31.3% of the respondents indicated that they had run into some level of difficulty in understanding the rental housing rules, regulations and procedures. A further 28.1% of respondents indicated having some level of difficulty in finding a home that was close to amenities such as schools, shopping, and public transportation. Another 25% of the respondents cited having difficulties throughout the process of finding a rental place (see Table 5.14). Table 5.14 Degree of Ease with Selected Aspects of Housing Experience Rental Housing Experience ! !  Understanding the rental housing rules, regulations and procedures.! Access to amenities (schools, shopping, public transportation, parks etc)! The process of finding a rental place! Finding information on rental housing (vacancy rates etc)! Dealing with Landlords! Looking for professional help in rental housing services!  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 10! 31.3! 9!  28.1!  8! 7!  25.0! 21.9!  4! 4!  12.5! 12.5!  Note. *The respondents in this category reported “very easy” or “easy” in the questionnaire survey. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  !  68!  5.3.3  Major barriers experienced in Kelowna’s rental housing market  When respondents were asked about the greatest barrier or challenge they experienced in Kelowna’s rental housing market, many of them felt that understanding the rules and regulations of renting a residence was the most troublesome. Half of the respondents reported that they did not have any information about rental housing laws, regulations and procedures. This lack of knowledge may be related to the fact that most of them did not receive help from professional organizations. Although 50% of the respondents indicated that they did not receive information from an agency, most respondents (75%) had a social network in Kelowna and were able to find housing easily. Many service providers are aware that most newcomers do not fully understand how the rental market operates. One possible reason for this may be a language barrier. English is not the first language of most immigrant women, and this interferes with their comprehension and ability to access information. Many of the services provided for immigrants in Kelowna were offered in only a couple of different languages, not nearly enough to cover the wide range of ethnicities choosing to make Kelowna their home. A total of 68.8% of respondents indicated that they sought no help from settlement agencies or any other organizations, yet respondents expressed their frustration with the lack of rental housing information available. One respondent wrote: “No one tells you how or where to get access to that information, no one shares this information with you.” Another respondent stated: “When I got here I was not aware of the avenues that I could go about getting information from. So with little familiarity with the city, it was a challenge to find the correct outlets for assistance.”  !  69!  Some service providers who were interviewed expressed concern that landlords were taking advantage of immigrants with limited English language skills. One noted: “We have definitely seen where landlords, in terms of documents, have taken advantage of people who didn’t have a full understanding of English. You know, they're presented with this thing, and they believe it’s [based on] good will and they sign it anyway, and there may be clauses that [the immigrant does not understand] …” When participants in this study were asked what aspects of landlord procedures or policies should be changed, more than half wanted more education on laws and policies to be available for immigrants. They were also worried about landlords asking for too much information: “The amount of questions asked, and [type of] information” “More awareness for renters [about] policies and procedures” “The types of questions they ask, not comfortable telling always” “Ask for SIN number, so the information they ask should be limited” 5.4  Discrimination in Kelowna Studies have shown that discrimination, in various forms, plays a negative role in the  housing experiences of immigrants in major gateway cities in Canada, but also in the smaller and mid-size cities across Canada (Bahbahani, 2008: Danso & Grant, 2000:Teixeira, 2009). When respondents were asked about their experiences of discrimination in Kelowna’s rental housing market, 65.6% indicated they felt discriminated against based on their income level, 53.1% felt they were discriminated against based on their source of income and 46.9% experienced discrimination based on their language or accent (see Table 5.15).  !  70!  Table 5.15 Perceived Experiences of Discrimination in Kelowna’s Rental Housing Market Discrimination Factors!  Immigrant Women N=32*! ! N! %! Income level! 21! 65.6! Source of income! 17! 53.1! Language or Accent! 15! 46.9! Sex! 13! 40.6! Immigration status! 13! 40.6! Ethnic/cultural or national background! 12! 37.5! Race! 11! 34.4! Family size, household size or type! 9! 28.1! Religion! 5! 15.6! Note. *The number of respondents who indicated “a moderate amount”, “quite a bit” or “very much” with regard to the extent of their experiences of discrimination based on each factor listed above. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012!  It is not surprising that respondents reported experiences of discrimination based on their income level (65.6%) and source of income (53.1%), considering that most of them had trouble having their overseas education recognized in Canada and finding a job that matched their qualifications; they were poorly paid and had low incomes. As mentioned earlier, 50% of the respondents had a university degree before their arrival in Canada (see Table 4.4). Another 43.8% of respondents had a partial post-secondary education, including diplomas, apprenticeships, or some university (see Table 4.4). Although Kelowna’s rental housing market is not as tight as it was a few years ago (2008), immigrant women are still finding it hard to make ends meet.  !  71!  Service providers acknowledged that discrimination might play a major role in immigrant women not finding jobs in line with their qualifications and pay well. The service providers who were interviewed also believed discrimination to be rampant in Kelowna’s rental housing market, although perhaps not as blatant as it once was. Many of the respondents agreed that Kelowna was not a welcoming community when they arrived, but did not explicitly link this to discrimination. The information provided by the respondents along with the key informants suggests that discrimination may still be prevalent in Kelowna’s rental housing market, though the discrimination may be subtle in nature. Some of the informants mentioned that phone inquiries to landlords were occasions when discrimination was easily carried out. On hearing an accent, landlords may say, “Sorry, it’s already rented,” when it is not. Most of the key informants agreed with the following comment made by a settlement worker regarding racial discrimination in Kelowna’s rental market: “I’m sure you’re gonna get that. It’s a bit of a white bread city, so I’m sure you’re gonna get that, but I think there’s also some really good landlords out there.” 5.5  Strategies for Coping with Barriers to Housing Given the numerous barriers immigrant women faced, they were asked “In what ways  they you coped with the barriers to housing?” (see Table 5.16). Reflecting the primary issue of affordability, most of the respondents adopted coping strategies by which they could carefully budget and manage their low or modest incomes. The coping strategy used most often (59.4%) was spending less money on non-housing essentials such as food and clothing. Another strategy, used by 43.8%, was living with friends or family to share housing costs. More than one-third  !  72!  (34.4%) of the respondents worked more than one job to help pay for their living expenses, and 28.1% worked overtime (Table 5.16). Table 5.16 Coping Strategies Used to Afford their Housing Coping Strategies! !  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 19! 59.4!  Spending less money on other essential such as food and clothing! Living with friends or family to share 14! 43.8! housing costs! Working more than one job! 11! 34.4! Working overtime! 9! 28.1! Borrowing money from friends and/or family 6! 18.8! members! Borrowing money from the bank! 2! 6.3! Other (specify)…Save money! 1! 3.1! Note. *The respondents reported more than one strategy to afford their housing. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  The respondents were asked to select which coping strategies were the most important for them, 46.9% of respondents chose living with friends and/or family to share housing costs. One respondent indicated that their strategy for making ends meet was “working, spending less [and having] helpful friends.” About one-third (34.4%) of the respondents were working at more than one job. Another respondent wrote that “working overtime and [having] more than one job” was the best coping strategy to make things more affordable. Others noted the need to spend less money and “take the time to look for a place within our budget.” Some of the respondents referred to receiving financial or other support from family members or friends as the most important strategy to help them overcome the affordability issue in Kelowna.  !  73!  Informants who were settlement workers confirmed that immigrants who are struggling with housing affordability issues and are in need of financial assistance do not seek help from government sources and agencies. Immigrant women tend to look for informal sources of financial assistance such as taking personal loans from friends and family members before turning to government assistance. The survey respondents emphasized the benefit of having social networks for support. Numerous respondents indicated that having help from friends and family looking for a job or a place to live was extremely important in order to “make it” in Canada. In fact, as noted before, 43.8% of the respondents reported living with friends or family to help share-housing costs (Table 5.16). This coping strategy, however, has created other issues for immigrant women, such as living in overcrowded conditions. As mentioned earlier, the respondents lived in households of three people, on average (Table 5.1). Only 15.6% of the respondents lived alone (Table 5.1). Despite most of the respondents indicating that they coped with housing unaffordability problems by sharing housing costs with friends and/or family members, the majority of respondents (87.5%) indicated that their current residence was comfortable, with just enough room. Many of the respondents (68.8%) also indicated that their current residence was in good repair, only needing regular maintenance; only 28.1% of them reported that their current residence needed minor repairs such as replacing missing or loose floorboards and siding. Other studies have also shown that immigrants often live in overcrowded situations in order to afford the cost of living (Hiebert, Mendez & Wyly, 2008; Teixeira, 2009). The key informants also noted the importance for immigrant women to live with others to share housing costs, especially if the family had more than a couple of children. A settlement worker pointed out the importance of community in helping immigrant women overcome various barriers and  !  74!  issues: “The women that I’ve worked with, it seems to be if they’ve got community that they’ll do a lot better. If they’re here without community and on their own, they’re coping strategies aren’t that great.” A church leader also indicated that “one of the things that we see more of is people who come into our doors is that they’re at the low level of income and because of that they can’t afford much …. So they’re very limited in what’s available and quite often they end up in pretty squalor-type places or they have to share.” For instance other than relying on financial help from friends or relatives, more than half of the respondents (59.4%) reported spending less money on other essentials such as food and clothing. Employment workers in Kelowna were not surprised that immigrant women sacrifice a lot in order to make a living in Kelowna. Many of them remarked that immigrant women do whatever it takes to help their family make it to better times. 5.6  Summary The factors discussed in this chapter highlight the major challenges women immigrants  face in their rental housing experiences in Kelowna. Despite the various coping strategies employed by the immigrant women respondents in this study, most of them were still struggled to afford their housing costs, subject to a continuous struggle to find a way out of core housing need and away from the continuous reliance on help from friends and/or family members. Affordability was a huge challenge for the respondents surveyed. To cope with the unaffordability problems, many respondents found strategies to manage their finances and maneuver around Kelowna’s expensive rental housing market. The high cost of rental housing in the city of Kelowna was a primary barrier and challenge that these immigrant women highlighted in their responses to the survey questions. However, they also reported a lack of knowledge and  !  75!  information on rental housing laws, regulations and procedures, along with low vacancy rates. In addition, the immigrant women identified that, overall, the rental homes available in Kelowna were unsuitable for their household. Some of the barriers and challenges faced by immigrant women in their rental housing search process proved to be more significant than others. The women in this study reported feeling discriminated against in the rental housing market in Kelowna, particularly because of their low incomes and secondly on the basis of their income source. In addition, the respondents perceived discrimination based on their language or accent, sex, immigration status, and to a lesser extent, their ethnic and cultural or national background. The immigrant women in this study undertook various coping strategies to deal with the barriers they encountered in their housing search process and the high cost of housing. To deal with Kelowna’s expensive rental market, the primary coping strategy employed was to spend less on other essentials such as food and clothing. Some of the respondents also chose to live with friends and family to lower the cost of housing. Some worked at more than one job and worked overtime. This results presented in this chapter clearly indicates that immigrant women face significant barriers and challenges in their rental housing search process along with discriminatory factors while trying to secure rental housing. In order for Kelowna to become a better destination for immigrant women these issues need to be fully addressed. Since affordable housing and discrimination were identified by the respondents as an area of major concern, the next chapter reviews the recommendations suggested by both the survey respondents and the key informants to improve the rental housing market in Kelowna.  !  76!  Chapter 6: Recommendations for Reducing Immigrant Women’s Housing Barriers 6.1  Introduction The previous chapters on immigrant women’s settlement and rental housing experiences  illustrated the multiple barriers and challenges they face in Kelowna. Some of these challenges include housing unaffordability, a lack of information on rental housing procedures, laws and regulations, and an unwelcoming community. Severe unaffordability in the rental housing market in Kelowna was a major issue for the immigrant women in this study, with 59.4% reporting that they spent 30% or more of their income on housing. In addition, the respondents in this study expressed concern about the lack of rental housing information and housing services in Kelowna. Without help from settlement organizations and agencies, respondents employed other coping strategies such as sharing accommodations with friends and relatives, spending less money on the essentials, working overtime or at more than one job and borrowing money from friends and family members. The obstacles immigrant women face reveal the need for more responsive government and non-government policies as well as community initiatives to better assist immigrant women with settlement, and especially with affordable housing options. This chapter focuses on the views of key informants and the issues identified by the women surveyed. Suggestions for change and potential solutions to address immigrant women’s housing issues are presented, based on input from both the key informants and immigrant women participants.  !  77!  6.2  Recommendations The immigrant women consulted for this study identified several challenges in finding  affordable and adequate housing. Housing unaffordability was the greatest concern. The participants drew a direct connection between the failure to gain recognition for their overseas work experience and education and their subsequent employment in low paying jobs. Overt discrimination was not as much of a concern for the study participants, though key informants noted that discriminatory practices in Kelowna are often very subtle and may not be immediately evident. In addition to identifying the problems they have faced, participants were asked for their input on how to improve immigrant women’s housing experiences. Several areas for improvement were identified by the respondents, with affordable housing as the main recommendation. The need for more affordable housing stock is readily apparent from the responses to this study. A total of 81.3% of the respondents said that more affordable housing should be built in Kelowna because that would help reduce the barriers/challenges that newcomer immigrant women face in relation to housing (Table 6.1).  !  78!  Table 6.1 Recommendations to Improve Immigrant Women’s Rental Housing Experiences Recommendations to Improve Immigrant Women’s Rental Housing Experiences! !  Immigrant Women N=32*! N! %! 26! 81.3! 20! 62.5!  More affordable rental housing should be built in Kelowna! Education on rental housing procedures, laws, and regulations should be provided for immigrant women and landlords! A more welcoming community! 15! 46.9! The government should provide more financial help for immigrant 11! 34.4! women! Community organizations and agencies should provide rental 10! 31.3! housing services for immigrant women! More government subsidized housing or public housing should be 8! 25! built! Other (Please specify)..More jobs! 1! 3.1! Note. *The respondents were able to select more than one recommendation to improve immigrant women’s rental housing experiences. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  While the women surveyed want, above all, more affordable housing in Kelowna, staff at both non-governmental and governmental organizations indicated that they felt constrained in their ability to provide more affordable housing. A city official who deals closely with the housing issues in Kelowna stated that while incentives are available to entice developers to build more affordable housing, there are insufficient resources to address the particular needs of immigrant women: “What we’re doing now is number one, trying to get people to build more rental housing, which we’re trying to do by giving grants and waiving property taxes for ten years and different things like that …. We don’t have the resources and the capacity to have a [housing] program for immigrant women …” The second most common recommendation was for more education on rental housing procedures, laws and regulations for immigrant women upon arrival in Kelowna, with 62.5% respondents highlighting this need (see Table 6.1). Respondents had a hard time knowing where !  79!  to go for this type of information or were unaware that it was even available. Access to information of this type is required for immigrant women to navigate the rental housing market with knowledge of their rights and where to go for help if something wrong occurs. Almost all of the key informants (10 out of 11) stressed the issue of education: “Generally speaking, people who have an educated background at least have the awareness of legal rights, so if somebody . . . even if their grasp of English is very difficult, and even if they signed something they shouldn’t have . . . that background will at least ring some bells with them in terms of asserting their legal rights. The greater difficulty is where people don’t even have an awareness of legal rights.” How the government provides housing information is as important as the content. Some immigrants live in fear of being evicted because they are unaware of the rules, laws and procedures in place to protect them (Teixeira, 2010). Many local organizations that were contacted throughout this research project had educational programs available. However, these services are not enough. Newcomers are often unaware of these services. In addition, there is a language barrier. Most of the settlement services that are provided throughout Kelowna are offered in only a few select languages. As reported earlier, 62.5% of the respondents lacked any information about Kelowna prior to their arrival in the city (see chapter 5). Many also reported not knowing where to go to find this information. Access to services could be improved. One way is making sure that information is circulated in local ethnic communities and social networks. Almost all of the key informants (9 out of 11) agreed that word of mouth was the most usual way that people learned of their services: “We try to make our services known as much as possible. I think basically . . . a lot of them find us through word of mouth.” Making services available in more languages would  !  80!  extend their reach, as would more flexible English language classes for newcomers. A settlement worker noted that English classes are not always accessible to women: “When we are talking about women, that can be extra challenging because most English classes are in the daytime and when they, for example, don’t have child care options, it is very hard for them to actually go to these classes.” Another settlement worker suggested designating place for newcomers, one welladvertised at airports and other points of arrival, where all the information needed is available, from education to employment. This has been referred to as a municipal settlement policy (Gandia, 2010), which the City of Kelowna currently does not have. Other major gateway cities for immigrants have these, and they have been shown to be very useful. The City of Kelowna would benefit from the implementation of a municipal settlement policy for new immigrants. A social worker and an immigration officer who were interviewed agreed that information could be more widely distributed: “[Make sure that] the resources for finding housing are available in various organizations, like in cultural centres and on websites and on government websites where people would likely go for information, in the phone book, you know, in different languages.” In addition to low-cost housing and accessible information, respondents in this study indicated that a more welcoming community is also an important factor for their integration into a new city. Many of the respondents (46.9%) indicated that this would greatly help improve the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna (see Table 6.1). A more welcoming community can be a determining factor in ensuring immigrant women settle successfully in their new neighborhood and city. A more welcoming community can provide a sense of belonging for newcomers and a place to help them integrate into Canadian society and culture, while still respecting their own (Bahbahani, 2008; Teixeira, 2009, 2010).  !  81!  Some respondents (34.4%) further recommended that the government provide more financial help for immigrant women upon arrival (see Table 6.1). Immigrant women in this study often had a hard time obtaining loans because banks did not recognize their overseas banking credentials. This leaves immigrant women dependent on other sources such as financial help from relatives and friends. The Canadian government should work with these immigrant women and financial institutions in Canada to improve their access to funds. Immigrant women play an important part in boosting Kelowna’s economy and Canada’s, therefore we need to ensure that they are taken care of so our economy can continue to move and grow in the future. About one-third (31.3%) of the respondents suggested that community organizations and agencies should provide rental housing services for new immigrant women (Table 6.1). This suggestion may be hard to accommodate and implement. The majority of key informants (8 out of 11) indicated that their organizations and agencies are strapped financially and would be unable to add or change existing services. Kelowna’s organizations and agencies have been hit by funding cuts. In one salient example, the Kelowna’s Citizenship and Immigration Office for newcomers was shut down just prior to this study. Kelowna’s Citizenship and Immigration office had been operating since 1994 (Moore, 2012). A lack of housing services may drive future potential immigrants/residents elsewhere, where they are more able to access the settlement and housing information they need. Finally, 25% of immigrant women respondents recommended that the government provide more subsidized housing or build more public housing (see Table 6.1). Immigrant women need affordable housing options that are suitable for their needs. Often women immigrants work more than one job in order to make ends meet and/or share housing with  !  82!  relatives and friends, but with the help of the government providing some help with affordable housing, their burdens could be decreased quite a bit. 6.2.1 Landlord Policies/ Procedures Respondents were asked to provide recommendations on changes to landlord policies and procedures. The majority (20 out of 32 or 62.5%) of them indicated that existing procedures or policies should be changed or improved. Many of these respondents (45%) would like rules and regulations in place to control how much information landlords are able to ask (Table 6.2). Table 6.2 Recommendations for Changed Landlords Policies and Procedures Landlord’s Policies and Procedures!  Immigrant Women N=20! ! N! %! Amount of information asked for! 9! 45! Clear agreements! 3! 15! More education on rental laws/ information to tenants! 3! 15! Discriminatory behavior by landlords/need for better policies! 3! 15! Other! 2! 10! Note. *Respondents were able to choose more than one recommendation on landlord policies and procedures. Source: Questionnaire Survey, 2012.!  The immigrant women in this study expressed their concern over landlords asking about private information that does not need to be shared in order to secure a rental place in Kelowna. One respondent said, “they ask for a SIN number …. The information they ask [for] should be limited.” Another respondent felt uncomfortable dealing with landlords due to the questions they pose to potential renters: “The types of questions they ask, [I’m] not comfortable telling always.”  !  83!  A few (15%) of the respondents wanted more clearly-written landlord and tenant documents (see Table 6.2). One respondent wrote: “Be more clear about the rules in the building from the beginning.” Another woman asked that “rules, agreements [be] made clear.” Another suggestion was for more options in lease agreements such as a choice in the length of a lease (e.g., six months rather than one year). A few respondents wanted better protection from discriminatory behavior by landlords. Clear communication between landlords and renters, especially newcomers, is crucial for tenants to fully understand their rights and responsibilities and those of the landlord. The respondents called for more education on rental laws and rules to reduce misunderstandings, conflict, and confusion, as well as exploitation. 6.3  Recommendations by Key Informants 6.3.1  Organization recommendations  The key informants were asked for recommendations to help improve the rental housing experiences of immigrant women. A common response, made by the majority of key informants (9 out of 11), was finding ways to provide more affordable housing for new immigrants arriving in the City of Kelowna. A settlement worker in the City of Kelowna referred to the actions of his agency: “We’ve started a two-year project that is being funded through the federal government that is dealing with the homeless or the at-risk-of-homelessness population more generally. It will deal with helping the service providers to communicate more effectively and access information needed …. We’re also looking at ways to make the online database more user friendly for people regardless of their background, culture and country of origin.”  !  84!  Another official in Kelowna’s municipal government said: “What we’re doing now is, number one, trying to get people to build more rental housing, which we’re trying to do by giving grants and waiving property taxes for ten years …. We could also, through our recreation program guide, provide information for people, and it could be in different languages.” 6.3.2  Recommendations for governments  Key informants were asked what they would recommend to all three levels of government in Canada in terms of supplying more suitable, affordable and adequate housing to immigrants in general, and immigrant women in particular. Their suggestions ranged from the general to the highly specific: “More affordable housing is urgently needed.” “Whatever they can do to bring down the cost [of housing] . . . . If they could do what happened in the past, in the 60s and 70s, where they put money into apartments, that’s what they need to do … have a program like an actual Canadawide housing project . . . something we can all be a part of.” “I think all three levels of government should really work more on integrating immigrants into the work force … mentoring programs or practicum programs, I can see from my experience would be very helpful.” Several key informants suggested that the federal government initiate a national housing strategy. One of these informants noted: “I mean that’s the big picture, and then of course that would have different kinds of focuses, one of which could be that while the national housing strategy is the answer, we have to be really… really careful that something as important as dealing with specifics like immigrant women aren’t overlooked…” Another city official suggested that the federal government “make it easier to build rental housing, economically speaking, and make sure that the resources for finding housing are available in various  !  85!  organizations like in cultural centres and on websites and on government websites, places where people would likely go for information.” A settlement worker suggested looking at bigger cities that attract and retain more immigrants such as Vancouver and maybe adopting their housing strategies, such as co-operative housing, where the city puts aside buildings that are affordable but not low-income. 6.3.3  Recommendations to immigrant women coming to Kelowna  Lastly, key informants were asked what they would recommend to immigrant women looking to settle into the City of Kelowna. All of the key informants agreed that immigrant women need to get as much information as possible about the City of Kelowna, including its job and housing markets. One key informant noted: “They really [should] do their homework, like you should for moving into any area, not just Kelowna. But moving into any area, do your homework, make sure you can afford to be there, because there’s a lot of people that move to Kelowna and other places, but in Kelowna, for sure, I know, should have never done it because they cannot afford to.” All of the key informants agreed that knowing the prospects in Kelowna in advance is crucial: [Research] ahead of time is key to secure some sort of level of stability in Kelowna before you come … not just coming to Kelowna and hoping that everything’s going to work out, because it is tough, it is really tough, to find housing in Kelowna, even, like I said before, for locals, and now you add to that the other challenges like language or not having a job. It’s gonna be really tough.” Several key informants (3 out of 11) suggested that potential immigrants should ensure their credentials are compatible and English speaking skills adequate: You really need to speak English. So if they want, they should start studying English before they come, because then you have an advantage … Look at your  !  86!  job. Is it compatible with what is asked [for] here? Are your degrees compatible or not? That’s important because then you can realize if you can afford to live here. 6.4  Summary Data collected from the survey and key informant interviews yielded important insights  into the sorts of changes that might be made to improve immigrant women’s rental housing experience in Kelowna. The most commonly-discussed recommendation was building more affordable housing that is geared toward all low-income groups, but to immigrant women in particular. To implement this recommendation, more funding needs to be provided by all three levels of government (municipal, provincial and federal level) in addition to incentivizing developers to build more affordable housing. Respondents also called for education on rental housing procedures, laws and regulations to be provided for immigrants and landlords. A further recommendation was the facilitation and creation of a more welcoming community. In the absence of established ethnic communities in Kelowna, a more welcoming community can be created by local organizations such as churches through community events and functions that invite and reach out to newcomers to ease their integration into a new society. A community centre that all immigrants know about, that can help with all of their settlement needs, including access to housing services, would be ideal. Immigrant women were also asked to recommend changes in landlord policies and procedures. Respondents suggested placing limits on the amount and type of information landlords can request; clearer agreements; and more plain-language information on the rental laws. Advocating for change may bring about an improvement in this area. In particular, local agencies need to be supported financially by governments to facilitate the distribution of current, accurate housing information to immigrants.  !  87!  The key informants provided various suggestions and recommendations as to what could be done within their own organizations and through the different levels of government to improve the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna. The most common recommendation was to provide more affordable housing and create a sustainable action plan that all Canadians can adopt. The key informants also urged potential immigrants to understand and be prepared for the high cost of living and demanding labour market in Kelowna before deciding to emigrate. After examining the literature and recommendations provided by both key informants and participants in this study, the researcher recommends that more affordable housing and more information about Kelowna be provided to immigrants (before and upon arrival) in order to help reduce the current and potential barriers and challenges that immigrant women face in Kelowna’s rental housing market. The participant women in this study were adament that more affordable housing in close proximity to schools, public transportation and other services would help them to better integrate into a new society regardless of their low incomes. Building/providing more affordable housing for newcomers, especially immigrant women, would help them integrate successfully into a new society. In 1993 funding for the development of non-profit or public housing was terminated by the federal government. The lack of a national housing policy and funding for development has put many groups at a disadvantage, particularly low income groups, and makes it more difficult for newcomers, to become successfully integrated into a new society. Although the idea of reimplementing a Canada-wide housing policy would be ideal, this could take years of talks while even more people struggle. The local government should determine the level of need for affordable housing and find a way to include the community in coming up with strategies to  !  88!  mobilize action. Partnering up with local businesses and the private sector, along with other levels and branches of government, could create a critical difference for those groups currently struggling over access to affordable housing. Participation from all different levels of government in Canada would be ideal to tackle the constant housing issue in Canada; a big difference can be made by gathering cooperation from the private sector such as developers and builders. Having access to affordable housing upon arrival in Kelowna and reducing their financial stress would allow immigrant women to more easily establish roots in Canada and help them to find appropriate jobs, provide better educational opportunities for their kids, and reduce the risk of facing discrimination by landlords in the private sector. Although landlords have the right to ask for some types of personal and financial information the women participants in this study felt uncomfortable at times with providing such information feeling that some of it was unnecessary. The researcher recommends better dialogue between landlords and renters. They would be in a better position to develop connections with their neighbours and extend their community, thereby resulting in a more welcoming community for everyone; this, in turn, would entice more immigrants and immigrant women to come to the Valley. Having proper information about the City of Kelowna before or upon arrival is also extremely important for immigrant women as it can help them determine whether and how they can successfully integrate in socio-economic terms. Having pertinent information is critical for immigrants because it allows them to understand the current housing situation and job market in Kelowna and determine how they might establish a life in Canada and what kind of future is possible for their children. While such information is important for newcomers settling in any part of Canada, it is especially important for newcomers to Kelowna which does not attract and  !  89!  retain immigrants like the larger gateway cities but where the cost of housing is almost equally high. This type of information needs to be more readily available and easier to access by providing the information in more languages and distributing it from more places than settlement agencies and organizations. If more immigrants are able to access information about the City of Kelowna, their destination decision will at least be better informed. Those who are still attracted to Kelowna will be better prepared and less likely to be disappointed or discouraged after they arrive. Those who obtain this information upon arrival will similarly have a better footing for decision-making and facing any challenges that lie ahead, and ideally, not have to do so alone. Although the city of Kelowna has organizations that will help immigrants and immigrant women they do not specifically deal with either of these groups. The researcher recommends that settlement services in Kelowna widen their services to provide more specialized information along with services/programs for immigrant women. With the help of government funding housing settlement workers could be hired to assess the issues of immigrant women in Kelowna’s rental housing market and monitor the progress and change in terms of their outcomes. The immigrant women in this study noted the importance of having housing that was, firstly, affordable, however they would have liked housing close to amenities such as bus service since many are unable to afford a car. Other services that could be provided to immigrant women by a settlement organization is help with obtaining a reference so they can find housing, information on where and how to go about getting a loan, vacancy rates and population, the types of housing and quality in Kelowna, and information on tenants’ and landlords’ rights and responsibilities. Services that are culturally sensitive centered would also be a good addition in the city of Kelowna because there is a lack of established ethnic communities to mediate crosscultural communication and explain cultural differences to newcomers.  !  90!  Chapter 7: Conclusion 7.1  Introduction Immigration will continue to be an important part of Canada’s future as Canada’s  population continues to age at a rapid pace. Immigrant source regions have changed. In the past, most immigrants to Canada came from European backgrounds whereas nowadays more immigrants are part of a visible minority coming from a wide range of nations and cultures. Canada has become one of the most sought after places to immigrate to and start a new life. The issues faced by immigrant women in Canada must be further examined. Many of them will see their children being raised in a new culture, perhaps making it difficult to retain their culture of origin for very long before becoming integrated into Canadian culture. As immigration to Canada becomes more important due to low native increase in population and desire for growth, it is important to consider who is coming to Canada and how Canadian governments can better accommodate the new demographic shift. Women immigrants in Canada in 2006 comprised 20.3% of the population, surpassing the previous peak of 20.2% in 1931. As more and more immigrants arrive daily in Canada, it is important to insure that help with the settlement process and integration into Canadian life is available to these groups. It is well known that most immigrants choose to settle in the larger gateway cities in Canada such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. There is however a gradual shift of immigrants settling beyond major urban cores into their suburbs, and to a lesser extent in mid-size cities across the Canadian landscape.  !  91!  Kelowna is one of the fastest growing mid-size cities in Canada. Although Kelowna continues to attract retirees and tourists, and remains predominantly White, it must adjust to attract and retain more immigrants and having a growing visible minority population. Immigrant women play a key role in Canada, however, relatively little is known about their rental housing and settlement experiences in small and mid-size cities. The settlement process when first arriving in Canada is a crucial time for newcomers, setting the stage for the integration process. Immigrants, more particularly immigrant women, and their settlement and housing experiences in small and mid-size cities in Canada have been understudied. Most scholars who research immigrants and their housing experiences in Canada focus on the major gateway cities, not the small and mid-size cities. Studies on immigrants and integration have all come to the conclusion that housing affordability is a major issue and discrimination a toofrequent barrier when newcomers establish a household and home in Canada. To overcome these barriers, many choose to live on arrival with relatives or friends, often in overcrowded conditions, and work long hours in underpaid jobs. 7.2  Research Findings For many of those who participated in this study, settling in Kelowna was not an easy  experience and posed many barriers and challenges. Many of the immigrant women who participated in this study faced major barriers due to not having enough information about the City of Kelowna and its job and housing markets. This in turn resulted in other barriers and challenges such as that of qualification, credentials, and work experience not being recognized, leading to underpaid jobs and low incomes. This fundamentally affected these immigrant  !  92!  women’s’ settlement experiences, hindering their searches for jobs and affordable housing on arrival in the city. The top two major settlement challenges the immigrant women identified in this study were finding a suitable job and affordable, suitable housing. Having a low income effects many areas of one’s life; it means not being able to afford good quality housing in a nice neighborhood that is safe for families. The majority of the participants resided in the lower-cost, more crimeridden area of Kelowna named Rutland. Despite this, more than three-quarters (84.4%) of the women were satisfied with their neighborhood. Most of the women reported their rent was too high and unaffordable. Half of them (50%) lacked enough information on the rental housing laws, regulations and procedures. In their search for a place to live, they relied heavily on leads from the Internet and from friends and family. Housing affordability was a major concern for these immigrant women, quite understandably since three-in-five were ‘in core housing need’, paying 30% or more of their income for housing. One-in-four was paying a much higher proportion of their income on housing, putting them at risk of becoming homeless. Their financial stress is acute. Discrimination plays a role in restricting their opportunities in both the labour and housing markets. In Kelowna’s rental housing market, the women in this study felt discriminated against because of their low incomes (65.6%), source of income (53.1%), language or accent (46.9%), and gender and immigrant status (81.3%). This suggests that discrimination in Kelowna’s rental housing market is a serious problem.  !  93!  In order for these immigrant women to survive and thrive in the City of Kelowna, with its high cost of living, many had to find ways to reduce their expenses and increase their income. More than half (59.4%) of the women chose to spend less money on food and other essentials such as clothing. Some chose to split housing costs by living with friends or relatives (43.8%). A further 34.4% were working at more than one job. The immigrant women and key informants in this study offered recommendations in order to improve the rental housing experiences and situations of immigrant women while addressing the barriers and challenges in securing affordable rental housing in Kelowna. The number one recommendation for the majority of the respondents (81.3%) was to develop more affordable rental housing. Many (62.5%) of the respondents felt that more information on landlord and tenant dealings should be more easily accessed. The women had a hard time knowing where to go for this type of information or didn’t even know it was available. There is an urgent need for more local organizations (non-profit and government agencies) to provide this type of information to immigrants in Kelowna. Many (59.4%) of the immigrant women wanted documents such as leases and building rules to be more clearly communicated and felt that landlords asked applicants for too much personal information. They recommended clear limits on the type and amount of information landlords can legitimately request; clearer documents and communication between landlord and tenants; and more accessible information on tenants’ rights, obligations, rules, and contracts. In sum, both participants and key informants suggested more affordable housing be made available along with encouraging the federal government to provide and support a strong national housing program and strategy. Also many key informants suggested that before  !  94!  immigrant women choose Kelowna to settle they should become better informed about the labour and housing situation. Currently in Kelowna more community and governmental support is needed for these immigrant women. Housing affordability and availability is a major concern that needs to be addressed. As well, more housing information should be provided by local organizations. More settlement agencies need to be available and provide services that are more specific to the needs of immigrant women. If we all work together to change policies and programs, we can help reduce the numerous barriers and challenges that immigrant women are facing in our community. 7.3  Limitations of the Study and Areas for Further Research Due to the limited amount of time and resources available, this study was limited to a  small sample size of 32 immigrant women and 11 key informants. The results of this study provide a broad view of immigrant women’s rental housing experiences and settlement in a midsize city — the major issues and how women are dealing with them, as well as the type of changes they suggest for programs, policies, and practices. As an exploratory study with a nonrandom sample, it is not appropriate to generalize from the results: however, the findings illustrate the circumstances and difficulties faced by a group of low-income immigrant women living in a high-cost, fast-growing, mid-size Canadian city. Other limitations of this study include a potential sampling bias and a volunteer bias. A sample bias may have occurred since the initial participants referred additional participants whom they knew and with whom they may have shared similar traits and characteristics with (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). A sampling bias may also have occurred due to the nature of the  !  95!  convenience sample and snowball recruiting technique; the sample was not equally balanced or objectively represented (Babbie, 1998). A volunteer bias may have occurred; participants who participated in this study may differ in unknown ways from eligible women who chose not to participate (Flowerdew & Martin, 2005). In addition, characteristics mentioned in the sociodemographic profile (country of origin, period of arrival, immigration class) may have an effect on the responses given and the integration process. This study examined the barriers and challenges encountered by immigrant women in Kelowna’s rental housing market, the strategies they used to cope with rental housing barriers and affordability issues. Robust population growth, such as that faced by Kelowna, usually generates demand for new housing as well as public services. Without a national housing program to develop affordable housing, however, very little is being built and recent immigrants with low incomes are struggling noticeably more than immigrants who arrived in the twentieth century, particular when economic growth was strong after World War Two. The particular circumstances and issues of immigrant women have received scant attention from housing researchers. This exploratory, small-scale study points to some of the most pressing issues recent immigrant women face in a fast-growing mid-size city in Canada. More research is needed to elaborate on immigrant women’s housing experiences and their integration within small and medium size cities in Canada. Some avenues for further research include: •  A study that compares and contrasts the differences in settlement and rental housing experiences between visible immigrant women and non-visible immigrant women.  !  96!  •  Longitudinal studies that would allow us to better understand immigrant women’s long-term process of transition into a new culture. For example, would their barriers and challenges decrease over time and how? Do their coping strategies change? Is there more we can do to help them, types of assistance not evident from a small-scale study?  •  Studies that look at gender and immigration and compare the experience and issues faced by female and male immigrants.  •  A comparative study of immigrant women’s experiences with the rental and homeownership markets. What are the different barriers they face? How are they similar?  •  A comparative study of immigrant women settling in a gateway city and a mid-size city in Canada. What differs? What can smaller cities learn from the larger gateway cities and vice versa?  •  A comparative study of immigrant women from different ethnicities. What role does ethnicity play in how immigrant women integrate? How similar are their experiences?  •  The role of social networks in small and mid-size cities compared to larger cities in Canada.  •  A comparative study of immigrant women and non-immigrant women and their rental housing experiences. What can be learned? What can be adopted and changed? These suggested avenues for further research could provide a better understanding of the  housing experiences of immigrant women in Canada and how to address their issues. It is  !  97!  important for scholars to develop this type of knowledge to both contribute to the future growth of Canada and improve conditions for immigrant women to become a part of Canadian society.  !  98!  Bibliography Aguiar, L. L. M., Tomic, P., & Trumper, R. (2005). Work hard, play hard: Selling Kelowna, B.C, as year-round playground. The Canadian Geographer, 49(2), 123-139. doi: 10.1111/j.0008-3658.2005.00084.x Babbie, E. R. (2010). The practice of social research (12th ed.). Belmont, United States: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Bahbahani, K. (2008). The changing face of Kelowna: Report on ethnicity and ethnic relations. Retrieved from Intercultural Society of the Central Okanagan website: http://www.interculturalkelowna.com/docs/changing-face.pdf BC Stats. (1996). 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The Newcomers Guide to Canadian Housing. Retrieved from http://www.cmhcschl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/upload/TheNewcomersGuide_E.pdf Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2008). Fall Rental Market Report- Kelowna CMA. Retrieved from http://www.kelowna.ca/CityPage/Docs/PDFs/Community%20Planning/CMHCRentalMa rketReport.pdf Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2011a). Rental Market Report: British Columbia Highlights-Spring 2011. Retrieved from http://www.cmhcschl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/64487/64487_2011_B01.pdf Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2011b). Vacancy Rate Moves Lower in 2011- Fall 2011. Retrieved from  !  99!  http://www.kelowna.ca/CityPage/Docs/PDFs/%5CCommunity%20Planning/2011%20Ke lowna%20Rental%20Market%20Report.pdf Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2012). Rental Market Report: British Columbia Highlights-Spring 2012. Retrieved from http://cmhcschl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/64487/64487_2012_B01.pdf Carter, T., Morrish, M., & Amoyaw, B. (2008). Attracting immigrants to smaller urban and rural communities: Lessons learned from the Manitoba provincial nominee program. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 9(2), 161-183. doi: 10.1007/s12134-0080051-2 Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. (2011). 2011 Strategic Plan: Economic Development Commission Regional District of Central Okanagan. Retrieved from http://www.kelowna.ca/CityPage/Docs/PDFs%5C%5CCouncil%5CMeetings%5CCounci l%20Meetings%202011%5C2011-01-31%5CItem%203.1%20%20Central%20Okanagan%20Economic%20Development%20Commission,%202011% 20Strategic%20Plan.pdf Center for Equality Rights in Accommodation. (2002). Women and Housing in Canada: Barriers to Equality. Retrieved from http://www.equalityrights.org/cera/docs/CERAWomenHous.htm City-Data. (2006). Kelowna-British Columbia. Retrieved from http://www.citydata.com/canada/Kelowna-City-citizenship.html City of Kelowna. (1996). Kelowna Population Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.kelowna.ca/CityPage/Docs/PDFs/Strategic%20Planning/1996%20Census%2 0info.pdf City of Kelowna. (2012). Housing Resources Handbook: Benchmarks and Resources for Affordable Housing. Retrieved from http://www.kelowna.ca/CityPage/Docs/PDFs/Community%20Planning/Housing%20Res ources%20Handbook.pdf Cook, D., & Pruegger, V. (2003). Attraction and retention of immigrants: Policy implications for the City of Calgary (Working Paper No. WP02-03). Edmonton, AB: Prairie Metropolis Centre. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ubc/docDetail.action?docID=10202247 Crawford, E. (2012, December 18). Kelowna second-fastest growing number of households in Canada. Business Vancouver. Retrieved from http://www.biv.com Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Los Angeles, United States: Sage. Danso, R. K., & Grant, M. R. (2000). Access to housing as an adaptive strategy for immigrant groups: Africans in Calgary. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 32(3), 19-43. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/215638612?accountid=14656 !  100!  Depner, W. (2011). An assessment of the role community services play in the attraction and retention of immigrants in the South Okanagan (Working Paper Series No. 11-14). Retrieved from Metropolis British Columbia website: http://mbc.metropolis.net/assets/uploads/files/wp/2011/WP11-14.pdf Depner, W., & Teixeira, C. (2012). Welcoming communities? An assessment of community services in attracting and retaining immigrants in the South Okanagan Valley (British Columbia, Canada), with policy recommendations. The Journal of Rural and Community Development, 7(2), 72-97. Retrieved from http://www.jrcd.ca/include/getdoc.php?id=1344&article=688&mode=pdf Derwing, T. M., & Krahn, H. (2008). Attracting and retaining immigrants outside the metropolis: Is the pie too small for everyone to have a piece? The case of Edmonton, Alberta. 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The homeownership hierarchies of Canada and the United States: The housing patterns of white and non-white immigrants of the past thirty years. International Migration Review, 41(2), 433-465. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-7379.2007.00074.x Haan, M. (2010). Is recent immigrant clustering in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver part of the reason behind declining immigrant neighbourhood quality? Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 263-280. doi: 10.1007/978-3-531-92563-9_10 Haan, M. (2011a). Does immigrant residential crowding reflect hidden homelessness? Canadian Studies in Population, 38(1-2), 43-59. Retrieved from http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=fulltext&passMe=http://web.uvic.ca/~canpop/journal/201 1/CSPv38n1-2p43.pdf !  101!  Hann, M. (2011b). The residential crowding of immigrants in Canada, 1971-2001. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(3), 443-465. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2011.526772 Hessing, M. (2011). After the harvest: Towards a sustainable Okanagan? BC Studies, 168, 81-94. Retrieved from http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/issue/view/279 Hiebert, D., Mendez, P., &Wyly, E. (2008). The housing situation and needs of recent immigrants in the Vancouver metropolitan area (Working Paper Series No. 08-01). Retrieved from Metropolis British Columbia website: http://mbc.metropolis.net/assets/uploads/files/wp/2008/WP08-01.pdf Hiebert, D. (2009). Newcomers in the Canadian housing market: A longitudinal study, 20012005. Canadian Geographer, 53(3), 268-287. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0064.2009.00263.x Hulchanski, J. D. (1994). Discrimination in Ontario’s Rental Housing Market: The Role of Minimum Income Criteria. Retrieved from Housing New Canadians website: http://www.hnc.utoronto.ca/publish/microle.pdf Hulchanski, J. D. (1997, November). Immigrants and access to housing: How welcome are newcomers to Canada? Paper presented at Metropolis Year II Conference, Toronto, ON. Retrieved from Housing New Canadians website: http://www.hnc.utoronto.ca/publish/index.htm# Hulchanski, J. D., & Shapcott, M. (Eds.) (2004). Finding room: Options for Canadian rental housing strategy. Toronto, ON: CUCS Press, University of Toronto Press. Hyndman, J., Schuurman, N., & Fiedler, R. (2006). Size matters: Attracting new immigrants to Canadian cities. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 7(1), 1-25. doi: 10.1007/s12134-006-1000-6 Lawrence, A. G. (2007). The barriers faced by recent immigrant women in Hamilton and Toronto’s rental housing markets (Unpublished master’s thesis). Ryerson University, Toronto, ON. Ley, D., & Murphy, P. (2001). Immigration in gateway cities: Sydney and Vancouver in comparative perspective. Progress in Planning, 55(3), 119-194. doi: 10.1016/S03059006(00)00025-8 Living in Canada. (2012). Canadian House Prices. Retrieved from http://www.livingincanada.com/house-prices-canada.html Logan, J. J. (2010). “There’s no place like home”: A snapshot of the settlement experiences of newcomer Tibetan women in Parkdale, Toronto (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. MR68293) McEwan, J. G. (2010). In tuition: A case study of UBCO student youth rental housing experiences in the City of Kelowna (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from University of British Columbia, cIRcle Digital Repository website: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/28478  !  102!  Meadows, L. M., Thurston, W. E., & Melton, C. (2001). Immigrant women's health. Social Science & Medicine, 52(9), 1451-1458. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00251-3 Mehta, D. (2012, May 29). Canada census aging communities: Peterborough, Kelowna among top spots for seniors. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca Michaels, K. (2012, January 26). Kelowna’s still ‘severely unaffordable’. Kelowna Capital News. Retrieved from http://www.kelownacapnews.com Miraftab, F. (2000). Sheltering refugees: The housing experience of refugees in metropolitan vancouver, Canada. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 9(1), 42. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/208718627?accountid=14656 Molgat, K. (2012, October 20). Overt racism an issue in B.C.’s Okanagan. CTV News. Retrieved from http://bc.ctvnews.ca/overt-racism-an-issue-in-b-c-s-okanagan-1.1003815 Moore, W. (2012, April 16). Kelowna’s immigration office closing. Castanet.net News. Retrieved from http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/73957/Kelowna-s-Immigrationoffice-closing Moore, W. (2012, August 30). The cost of living in the Okanagan. Castanet.net News. Retrieved from http://www.castanet.net Murdie, R.A., & Skop, E. (2012). Immigration and urban and suburban settlements. In C.Teixeira, W. Li. Editor & A. Kobayashi (Eds.), Immigrant geographies of North American cities (48-68) Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. Murdie, R. A. (2004). Housing affordability: Immigrant and refugee experiences. In J. D. Hulchanski & M. Shapcott (Eds.), Finding room: Options for a Canadian rental housing strategy. Toronto, ON: CUCS Press, University of Toronto Press. Murdie, R. A. (2005). Housing affordability: Immigrant and refugee experiences (Policy Matters No. 17). Retrieved from CERIS Ontario Metropolis Centre website: http://www.ceris.metropolis.net/wpcontent/uploads/pdf/research_publication/policy_matters/pm17.pdf Murdie, R. A. (2010). Housing affordability and Toronto's rental market: Perspectives from the housing careers of Jamaican, Polish and Somali newcomers. Housing, Theory and Society, 20(4), 183-196. doi: 10.1080/14036090310018923 Murdie, R. A., Preston, V., Ghosh, S., & Chevalier, M. (2006). Immigrants and Housing: A Review of Canadian Literature from 1990 to 2005 (Vol. 1). The Housing Situation and Needs of Recent Immigrants in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver CMAs. Ottawa, ON: CMHC Nemiroff, R. (2010). Beyond rehousing: Community integration of women who have experienced homelessness. (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from University of Ottawa,  !  103!  http://www.ruor.uottawa.ca/en/bitstream/handle/10393/19605/Nemiroff_Rebecca_2010_ Beyond_Rehousing_Community_Integrati….pdf?sequence=1 Ng, C., Northcott, H. C., & Abu-Laban, S. (2007). Housing and living arrangements of South Asian immigrant seniors in Edmonton, Alberta. Canadian Journal on Aging, 26(3), 185194. doi: 10.3138/cja.26.3.185 Novac, S. (1999). Immigrant enclaves and residential segregation: Voices of racialized refugee and immigrant women. Canadian Women Studies, 19(3), 88-93. Retrieved from http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/cws/article/download/7881/7012 Novac, S., Darden, J., Hulchansku, D., Seguin, A., & Berneche, F. (2002). Housing discrimination in Canada. The state of knowledge. Ottawa ON: CHMC. Oh, J. (2010). Barriers to immigrants seeking housing in a mid-sized city: A case study of visible minorities in Kelowna's housing market. (Master's thesis). Retrieved from University of British Columbia, cIRcle Digital Repository website: https://circle.ubc.ca/handle/2429/28470 Owusu, T. Y. (1999). Residential patterns and housing choices of Ghanaian immigrants in Toronto, Canada. Housing Studies, 14(1), 77-97. doi: 10.1080/02673039983019 Palmer, R. (2012, September 11). Canada designs new visa for immigrant entrepreneurs. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-onbusiness/small-business/starting-out/canada-designs-new-visa-for-immigrantentrepreneurs/article4537339/ Paradis, E., Novac, S., Sarty, M., & Hulchanski, D. (2008). Better off in a shelter? A year of homelessness & housing among status immigrant, non-status immigrant & Canadianborn families (Research Paper 213). Retrieved from University of Toronto, Centre for Urban & Community Studies website: http://www.urbancentre.utoronto.ca/redirects/rpaper213.html Press, J. (2012 February 8). Canada census 2011: The cities leading Canada's population boom. The National Post. Retrieved from http://www.nationalpost.com Preston, V., Damsbaek, N., Kelly, P. Lemoine, M., Lo, L., Shields, J. and Tufts, S. (2010). Welleducated immigrants fare poorly in the Canadian labour force. Research Snapshot. Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative (TIEDI), York University. Statistics Canada. (2010). 2006 community profiles: Immigrants. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/prof/92591/details/page_Definitions.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=5935010&Geo2=PR& Code2=59&Data=Count&SearchText=kelowna&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B 1=All&Custom=&LineID=11002 Statistics Canada. (2011). Study: Projected trends to 2013 Canadian labour force. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110817/dq110817b-eng.htm !  104!  Statistics Canada. (2012a). Census profile. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/censusrecensement/2011/dppd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=5935010&Geo2=CD&Code2=5 935&Data=Count&SearchText=kelowna&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All &Custom=&TABID=1 Statistics Canada. (2012b). Census profile: City of Kelowna. Retrieved from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2011/dppd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=5935010&Geo2=CD&Code2=5 935&Data=Count&SearchText=Kelowna&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=59&B1=All &Custom=&TABID=1 Statistics Canada. (2012c). Immigrant women. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89503-x/2010001/article/11528-eng.htm Talbot, M. E. (2012). Local brilliance: The attraction and retention of the UBC Okanagan campus graduates in Kelowna (Unpublished Master’sthesis). University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC. Teixeira, C. (2006). Housing experiences of Black Africans in Toronto’s rental market: A case study of Angolan and Mozambican immigrants. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 38(3), 58-86. Teixeira, C. (2008). Barriers and outcomes in the housing searches of new immigrants and refugees: A case study of "black" Africans in Toronto's rental market. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 23(4), 253. doi: 10.1007/s10901-008-9118-9 Teixeira, C. (2009). New immigrant settlement in a mid-sized city: A case study of housing barriers and coping strategies in Kelowna, British Columbia. The Canadian Geographer, 53(3), 323-339. doi: 10.1111/j.1541-0064.2009.00266.x Teixeira, C., & Li, W. (2009). Immigrant and refugee experiences in North American cities. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies,7(3), 221-227. Teixeira, C. (2010). Housing new Canadians in the Central Okanagan, British Columbia. BC Studies, 168, 45. Retrieved from http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies/issue/view/279 Teixeira, C. (2011). Finding a home of their own: Immigrant housing experiences in Central Okanagan, British Columbia, and policy recommendations for change. Journal International Migration and Integration, 12(2), 173-197. doi: 10.1007/s12134-011-01819 Teixeira, C., Li., W & Kobayashi, A. (Eds.). (2012). Immigrant geographies of North American cities: Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press  !  105!  The Canadian Press. (2012, December 10). New immigration program in 2013. Castanet.net. Retrieved from http://www.castanet.net/news/Canada/84336/New-immigration-programin-2013 Tomlins, R., Johnson, M., & Owen, D. (2002). The resource of ethnicity in the housing careers and preferences of the Vietnamese communities in London. Housing Studies, 17(3), 505519. doi: 10.1080/02673030220134971 Wachsmuth, D. (2008). Housing immigrants in Ontario's medium-sized cities. Ottawa,ON: Canadian Policy Research Networks. Walton-Roberts, M. (2005). Regional immigration and dispersal: Lessons from small- and medium-sized urban centres in British Columbia. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 37(3), 12. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/215635607?accountid=14656 Wekerle, G., & Novac, S. (1991). Gender and housing in Toronto. Toronto, ON: City of Toronto Women and Work Institute.  !  106!  Appendices Appendix A: Contact Letter to Key Informants  Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences 3333 University Way Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7 June 1st, 2012  Contact Letter to “Key” Informants To Whom It May Concern:  My name is Francisca Karl (Co-Investigator). Presently I am a Master’s student at the University of British Columbia- Okanagan. The research I am conducting deals with immigrant women and their rental housing experiences in the City of Kelowna.  Principle Investigator (Thesis supervisor): Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 1V7 (carlos.teixeira@ubc.ca).  Kelowna is well known for having an expensive rental housing market, along with few available units for renters. At this current point in time, many groups in Kelowna face many different housing challenges and barriers. Immigrant women for example, rely heavily on the existence of an affordable and accessible rental housing market while they first transition into a new country/city. For this understudied group at risk, barriers to rental housing pose a risk to their !  107!  overall integration, health and well being. The number of services and supports that are available for immigrant women in Kelowna need to be understood more thoroughly as well. In order to gain a better understanding of the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna, this study aims at examining the barriers immigrant women face when trying to find rental housing, their coping strategies and possible policy recommendations in order to improve the situation of immigrant women in the rental market. The reason for my writing this letter is to ask for your participation and help in this study, which will allow for a greater understanding of this issue. Your help will be greatly appreciated.  If you choose to participate, I will interview you regarding your experience and knowledge about the barriers and challenges that immigrant women face in the rental housing market in the City of Kelowna. The interview will last from 45-60 minutes and will be conducted at your convenience. Should you choose to participate, please be advised that I will take the appropriate steps to ensure your anonymity at all times. I would like to audiotape the interview with your consent. If you prefer I may just take notes of the interview. Please be assured that all the information that you will provide is highly confidential. The data will be recorded, analyzed and reported in ways that guarantee anonymity. Your participation is voluntary. It is my intention to report the findings from this research in my Master’s thesis. The results of this research may also be published in professional journals or presented at scientific conferences, but any such presentations will report only aggregated findings, which in some instances may be illustrated by short, anonymous quotes carefully selected so as not to breach individual confidentiality.  This being said, in one week or so I will call you to ask for your participation in this study. By then more information will be provided about the main objectives of the study and the consent process.  Thank you for considering this request for your participation. I may be reached at 250-863-8311 or by e-mail: francisca.k2@hotmail.com.  Sincerely,  Francisca Karl Masters Candidate  !  108!  University of British Columbia Okanagan  Appendix B: Consent Form for Key Informants  Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences 3333 University Way Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7  June 1st, 2012  Semi- Structured Interview Consent Form: Key Informants Research Project: Rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna  Principle Investigator: Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 1V7 (carlos.teixeira@ubc.ca).  Co-Investigator: Francisca Karl, MA Candidate, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 1V7 (francisca.k2@hotmail.com).  The objective of this study is to examine the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in the City of Kelowna. There is very little data/literature published on the topic of the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna, and even less regarding the barriers they face in the rental housing market. The City of Kelowna continues to face low vacancy rates and !  109!  high rental costs that negatively impact immigrant women’s rental housing search processes. Thus, this study will focus its attention on a study population that has not been researched by scholars and public officials. The results of this study will be used to support initiatives aimed at increasing affordable, accessible and appropriate housing for immigrant women in Kelowna.  Signing this consent form acknowledges that you understand that Francisca Karl (UBCO) is conducting research in order to better understand the rental housing experiences that immigrant women face in the City of Kelowna.  If you agree to participate in this study, the researcher (Francisca Karl) will ask you some questions during a semi-structured interview. This will last from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. You may refuse to answer any questions that you do not want to answer and you can withdraw from the interview at any time without explanation. The interview will be audio-recorded and you can ask that the audio recorder by turned off for a period of time while you make a point that you do not want recorded. The recording of the interview is for not taking use only by the main researcher and her supervisor (Dr. Carlos Teixeira), and there will be no further use of the tapes in any fashion. No one except the main researcher, based at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, and her supervisor will ever listen or have access to the tapes.  By signing this consent form, you acknowledge that any questions that you have about the study have been answered to your satisfaction. All the benefits of participating in the study – that is, from your responses to the questions-will help inform out understanding of the rental housing barriers that immigrant women face in the City of Kelowna. These research findings are intended to reveal recommendations that could be used to benefit immigrant women in Kelowna’s rental housing market. You may ask, now or in the future, any questions that you have about this study. The results of thesis study will be reported in a graduate thesis and may also be published in journal articles and books. It is also the intent of the researcher to share the results of this study with the local community. No information will ever be released or printed that would disclose your personal identity without your consent, unless required by law. All documents will be identified only be code number and kept in a locked filing cabinet at the University of British Columbia- Okanagan Campus for five years. After this time, all the interview data collected will be destroyed.  If you have any questions about this research project, you may contact Francisca Karl at any time-telephone number/cell: 250-863-8311 or via e-mail: francisca.k2@hotmail.com.  !  110!  If you have any concerns about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, you may contact the Research Subject Information Line in the UBC Office of Research Services at 1-877-822-8598 or the UBC Okanagan Research Services office at 250-807-8832.  Your participation in this study is completely voluntary and your decision to participate or not to participate will have no effect on your organization or yourself. You may withdraw your participation from this study at any time.  Your signature below indicated that you have received a copy of this consent form for your own records. Your signature indicates that you consent to participate in this study.  _____________________________  ______________________________  Signature of Participant  Print Name  ______________________ Date  *If you wish to receive an executive summary of the completed research, please complete the following contact information and a copy will be sent to you by mail or e-mail.  Address (E-mail or mailing): _____________________________________________________________  !  111!  Appendix C: Semi-Structured Interview guide for Key Informants  Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences 3333 University Way Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7  Interview Date __________ Interview Number _______  Section 1: Socio-demographic information (Key informants/service providers) •  Who are they?  •  Where do they work/organization?  •  What is their role within the organization?  Section 2: Services/Supports for Immigrants (this section is for service providers only) •  What are the services that are provided by your organization for immigrants?  •  What services and supports are available for immigrant women?  •  What housing services for immigrants are available by your organization if any?  •  How do you see the level of access and use of services by immigrants?  •  Do visible immigrant women tend to use more services than non-visible immigrant women?  !  112!  •  How effective are the services you provide? How do immigrants know about your services?  •  What are the major barriers/challenges immigrant women face in settling in Kelowna (employment, housing, education etc)?  Section 3: Ethno-racial community (this section is only for religious or community leaders) •  Does your organization have a high level of immigrant women attendees?  •  Other than religious services, do you provide any other formal services for immigrant women?  •  To what extent does your ethno-racial social network or community help your fellow countryman settle in Kelowna?  •  Do members in your organization or community ask for help?  •  What do you think are the major barriers faced by immigrant women or your group in particular (employment, housing, education, etc)?  Section 4: Housing •  In your opinion, what has Kelowna’s rental housing market been like in the past five years for newcomers?  •  What barriers/challenges do immigrant women face in looking for and locating affordable rental housing in Kelowna?  •  What types of coping strategies are employed by immigrant women to overcome these rental housing barriers and challenges?  •  How do you see the role of race/ethnicity in the rental housing search process? Do you think there is racial discrimination in Kelowna’s rental housing market?  !  113!  •  What do you think is the role of ethno-racial social networks or communities in the housing search process of these immigrants in Kelowna?  •  Is homelessness/hidden homelessness an issue among Kelowna’s immigrant women population?  Section 5: Recommendations •  Any recommendations to help improve the rental housing experiences and settlement of immigrant women within your own organization?  •  What would you recommend to the all three levels of government in Canada to do in order to help improve the rental housing experiences and settlement of immigrant women?  •  What would you recommend to immigrant women who are looking to settle into Kelowna (focuses on rental housing)?  !  114!  Appendix D: Contact Letter for Immigrant Women  Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences 3333 University Way Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7 June 1st, 2012  Contact Letter to Immigrant Women  To Whom It May Concern:  My name is Francisca Karl (Co-Investigator). Presently I am a Master’s student at the University of British Columbia- Okanagan. The research I am conducting deals with immigrant women and their rental housing experiences in the City of Kelowna.  Principle Investigator (Thesis supervisor): Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 1V7 (carlos.teixeira@ubc.ca).  Kelowna is well known for having an expensive rental housing market, along with few available units for renters. At this current point in time, many groups in Kelowna face many different housing challenges and barriers. Immigrant women for example, rely heavily on the existence of an affordable and accessible rental housing market while they first transition into a new country/city. For this understudied group at risk, barriers to rental housing pose a risk to their overall health, happiness and well-being. The number of services and supports that are available for immigrant women in Kelowna need to be understood more thoroughly as well. In order to gain a better understanding of the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna, this study aims at examining the barriers immigrant women face when trying to find rental housing along with their coping strategies and possible policy recommendations in order to !  115!  improve the situation of immigrant women in the rental market. The reason for my writing this letter is to ask for your participation and help in this study, which will allow for a greater understanding of this issue. Your help will be greatly appreciated.  If you choose to participate, I will invite you to fill out a questionnaire-survey. I am interested in knowing about your rental housing experiences in Kelowna including the barriers you have faced in looking for, locating and accessing rental housing in the city, the coping strategies you have employed to over come these barriers and possible policy recommendations you may have. This questionnaire-survey will take approximately 45-60 minutes. Please be assured that all the information you provide is highly confidential. The data will be analyzed and reported in ways that guarantee anonymity. Your participation is voluntary. It is my intention to report the findings from this research in my Master’s thesis. The results of this research may also be published in professional journals or presented at scientific conferences, but any such presentations will report only aggregated findings, which in some instances may be illustrated by short, anonymous quotes carefully selected so as not to breach individual confidentiality.  If you are interested in participating in this study, I would appreciate it if you contact me. At that time, more information will be provided about the main objective of the study and the consent process.  Thank you for considering this request for your participation. I may be reached at 250-863-8311 or by email: Francisca.k2@hotmail.com.  Sincerely,  Francisca Karl Master’s Candidate University of British Columbia-Okanagan  !  116!  Appendix E: Follow-up Contact Letter for Immigrant Women  Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences 3333 University Way Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7 June 1st, 2012  Follow up: Contact Letter to Immigrant Women One week ago I have contacted you to participate in a study dealing with immigrant women and their housing experiences in the City of Kelowna. If you are interested in participating I would appreciate it if you could contact me either by telephone:250-863-8311 or via email: francisca.k2@hotmail.com. If no contact is made to the researcher (Francisca Karl) no more contact will be made. Thank you for your time.  To Whom It May Concern: My name is Francisca Karl. Presently I am a Master’s student at the University of British Columbia- Okanagan. The research I am conducting deals with immigrant women and their rental housing experiences in the City of Kelowna.  Kelowna is well known for having an expensive rental housing market, along with few available units for renters. At this current point in time, many groups in Kelowna face many different housing challenges and barriers. Immigrant women for example, rely heavily on the existence of an affordable and accessible rental housing market while they first transition into a new country/city. For this understudied group at risk, barriers to rental housing pose a risk to their overall health, happiness and well-being. The number of services and supports that are available for immigrant women in Kelowna need to be understood more thoroughly as well. In order to gain a better understanding of the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna, !  117!  this study aims at examining the barriers immigrant women face when trying to find rental housing along with their coping strategies and possible policy recommendations in order to improve the situation of immigrant women in the rental market. The reason for my writing this letter is to ask for your participation and help in this study, which will allow for a greater understanding of this issue. Your help will be greatly appreciated.  If you choose to participate, I will invite you to fill out a questionnaire-survey. I am interested in knowing about your rental housing experiences in Kelowna including the barriers you have faced in looking for, locating and accessing rental housing in the city, the coping strategies you have employed to over come these barriers and possible policy recommendations you may have. This questionnaire-survey will take approximately 45-60 minutes. Please be assured that all the information you provide is highly confidential. The data will be analyzed and reported in ways that guarantee anonymity. Your participation is voluntary.  If you are interested in participating in this study, I would appreciate it if you contact me. At that time, more information will be provided about the main objective of the study and the consent process.  Thank you for considering this request for your participation. I may be reached at 250-863-8311 or by email: Francisca.k2@hotmail.com.  Sincerely,  Francisca Karl Master’s Candidate University of British Columbia-Okanagan  !  118!  Appendix F: Consent Form for Immigrant Women  Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences 3333 University Way Kelowna, BC Canada V1V 1V7 June 1st, 2012  Questionnaire Survey Consent Form Research Project: Immigrant Women’s Housing Experiences in Kelowna’s Rental Housing Market  Principle Investigator: Carlos Teixeira, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7 (email: carlos.texeira@ubc.ca).  Co-Investigator: Francisca Karl, MA Candidate, University of British Columbia Okanagan, Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 1V7 (francisca.k2@hotmail.com).  The objective of this study is to examine the rental housing experiences among landed immigrant women in the mid-sized City of Kelowna. There is very little data/literature published on the topic of the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Canada and even less is available in the City of Kelowna. The City of Kelowna continues to face low vacancy rates and high rental costs that are negatively impacting immigrant women in their search for rental housing. Thus, this study will focus its attention on a study population that has not been thoroughly researched by scholars and public officials. The results of this study will be used to !  119!  support initiatives aimed at increasing adequate, suitable and affordable housing for immigrant women in Kelowna in the hopes of reducing the barriers encountered.  Signing this consent form acknowledges that you understand that Francisca Karl (UBCO) is conducting a study to better understand the rental housing experiences/barriers that immigrant women face in the mid-sized city of Kelowna.  If you agree to participate in this study, you will answer a questionnaire survey that will take approximately 45 to 60 minutes to complete. You can refuse to answer any questions and may withdraw from the study without explanation. However, since the questionnaires do not carry identifying information you will not be able to withdraw your questionnaire from the study once you have returned it to the researcher. Follow up contact will be made by the researcher to the potential participant, asking them to participate, if you choose to decline to participate no more follow up contact will be made. Please be assured that only the main researcher (Francisca Karl) and her supervisor (Dr. Carlos Teixeira), based at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, will have access to the data.  All benefits from participation in the study-that is, from your responses to questions-will help inform our understanding of the rental housing experiences that immigrant women face in the City of Kelowna. These research findings are intended to help improve housing policy and programs that assist immigrant women in the City of Kelowna. You may ask, now or in the future, any questions that you have about this study. The results of this study will be reported in a graduate thesis and may also be published in journal articles and books. It is also the intent of the researcher to share the results with the local community. No information will ever be released or printed that would disclose your personal identity and all questionnaires will be kept in a locked filing cabinet on the University of British Columbia- Okanagan Campus for a period of five years. After five years, all questionnaires will be destroyed.  Your participation in the study is completely voluntary and your decision to participate or not to participate will have no effect on yourself or your organization.  By completing and returning the questionnaire, it will be assumed that consent to use the data has been given.  !  120!  If you have any questions about the research project, you may contact Francisca Karl at anytimetelephone number/cell: 250-863-8311 or by e-mail: francisca.k2@hotmail.com.  If you have any concerns about your rights as a research participant and/or your experience while participating in this study, you may contact the Research Subject Information Line in the UBC Office of Research Services at 1-877-822-8598 or the UBC Okanagan Research Services Office at 250-807-8832.  Your signature below indicated that you have received a copy of this consent form for your own records. Your signature and/or the completion and return of the questionnaire indicate that you consent to participate in this study.  ___________________________ Signature of Participant  ____________________________ Print Name  ___________________________ Date  *If you wish to receive an executive summary of the completed research, please complete the following contact information and a copy will be sent to you by mail or e-mail.  Address (e-mail or mailing): ___________________________________________________________  !  121!  Appendix G: Questionnaire Survey for Immigrant Women  Questionnaire Survey:  Immigrant Women’s Rental Housing Experiences in Kelowna #__________ University of British Columbia Okanagan Date: ___________ Researcher: Francisca Karl  Questionnaire Outline 1.Demographic Information 2. Settlement in Kelowna 3. Rental Housing Search Process/ Current Rental Housing Status 4. Housing Experiences in Kelowna 5. Discrimination in Kelowna 6. Recommendations 7. A Few more Questions  !  122!  Demographic Information Thank-you for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire on the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna. First, I would like to ask you some questions about yourself.  1. What year did you arrive in Canada? Year ___________________  2. What country were you born in? __________________________  3. What was your immigration status upon arrival in Canada?  a) b) c) d)  Landed immigrant [go to next question] Temporary visa holder [skip next question] Refugee claimant [skip next question] Other (specify) ___________________ [skip next question]  4. What year did you move to Kelowna? Year ____________________  5. What is the closest major intersection to where you live?  !  123!  Settlement(into(Kelowna( ( I would now like to ask you some questions regarding your settlement in Kelowna.  6. When you came to Canada, who came with you? That is, did you come alone or with someone else? (Please circle all that apply)  a) Alone With someone: Who else came with you?  b) c) d) e) f) g) h)  Spouse Parents Children Brothers and/or sisters Other Relatives Friends Other (specify)_________________________________  7. Before moving to Kelowna did you know of anyone living in Kelowna?  a) Yes (Go to question 8) b) No (Go to question 9)  8. Who did you know in Kelowna? (Please circle all that apply)  a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h)  !  Spouse Parents Children Brothers and/or sisters Other Relatives Friends Other (Specify) _____________________________________ Not Applicable  124!  9. Was Kelowna your first place of residence upon arriving in Canada?  a) Yes [Go to question 11] b) No [Go to question 10]  10. What city/town/area did you live in prior to moving to Kelowna? ______________________________  11. Why did you choose to live in Kelowna? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________  !  125!  12. The following barriers/challenges may be reflective of your settlement in the city of Kelowna. Please indicate 20. the The trueness of each barriers barrier from experience. following and your challenges may be reflective of your settlement in Kelowna. Please indicate the trueness of each barrier from your experience True  Somewhat True  Untrue  Don’t   Know  I have had difficulty finding a place to live in Kelowna.  I have had difficulty finding a job in Kelowna. My education from overseas was not recognized in Kelowna. My work experience from overseas was not recognized in Kelowna. Banks or creditors did not provide me with credit or money loan. My social networks (friends, family, ethnic community) are lacking in Kelowna. I do not feel welcome in my community. I did not have any information about Kelowna. I did not receive any help from community organizations or agencies (settlement services. Other (please specify) __________________________________  21. Out of the above settlement challenges and barriers, which one was the greatest challenge for you settling in Kelowna?  13. Out of the above settlement challenges and barriers, which one was the greatest challenge for you _______________________________________________________________________ settling in Kelowna? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________ !  !  126!  114  Rental(Housing(Search(Process/(Current( Rental(Housing(Status  I would now like to ask you about your rental housing search process in the City of Kelowna along with your current rental housing status.  14. What is your current rental housing status?  a) b) c) d)  Renter in the Private Sector Renter in Public Housing Renter in non-profit or co-operative Housing Other (specify) _____________________________  15. What type of rental housing do you currently live in?  a) b) c) d) e)  Single-detached Home Apartment, Condominium or Townhome Basement Suite Subsidized or public/social housing Other (specify)_____________________________  16. Including yourself, how many people live in your household?  a) b) c) d) e)  1 2 3 4 More than 4, please specify amount ______  17. Is your current residence…? (Choose one)  a) Overcrowded with too many people living together in one place b) Comfortable with just enough room c) Too big for my current household  !  127!  18. How long did you search for your CURRENT RENTAL RESIDENCE?  _____day(s) or ___________month(s)  19. How long have you lived in your current residence?  Month(s) ___________ or year(s) ________________  20. How many rental homes did you inspect in your search? ___________  21. Using the map provided below  !  …which areas/neighborhoods did you look at for your current rental residence? (circle all that apply)  !  128!  a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j) k)  Rutland Highway 97 Glenmore Central City Black Mountain South Pandosy Southeast Kelowna North Okanagan Mission South Okanagan Mission McKinley Other (specify)_______________________________  22. Please indicate which sources you used in your search for your CURRENT RENTAL RESIDENCE? (circle all that apply)  a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i)  Canadian Newspapers/Bulletins Ethnic Newspapers/Bulletins Friends from your Ethnic Background Relatives Driving Around Signs/For Rent Internet Government or non-government organizations, society or agency Other (specify) ______________________________  23. For the above sources used, what was the most helpful source in locating your current rental residence? (please explain why) _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________ 24. How difficult was it to find information rental housing vacancies in Kelowna?  a) b) c) d)  !  Very Difficult [Go to question 25] Somewhat Difficult [Go to question 25] Somewhat Easy [Go to question 26] Very Easy [Go to question 26]  129!  25. If the information on rental housing vacancies was “very difficult” or “somewhat difficult”, please identify the major reasons for your difficulty: _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________  26. How difficult was it to get professional help in rental housing services?  a) b) c) d) e)  Very Difficult Somewhat Difficult Somewhat Easy Very Easy Not Applicable  27. If it was “very difficult” or difficult” to find professional help for rental housing services, please identify the major reasons for your search difficulty: _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________  28. What were the main reasons for choosing your present home (i.e. The reasons you had at the time)? (Please circle all that apply)  a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j) k) l)  !  Its Cost Its Size Physical Qualities (e.g. heat, soundproofing) Suitable Design Well Maintained Security of Tenure Safety Location Family and Friends Nearby Sense of Community Only thing Available at the Time Other (specify) ______________________________________  130!  29. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the management services provided by your landlord? a) Very Satisfied [Go to question 31] b) Satisfied [Go to question 31] c) Dissatisfied [Go to question 30] d) Very Dissatisfied [Go to question 30]  30. If you answered “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” in the management services provided by your landlord, please identify the major reasons for your dissatisfaction: _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________  31. Thinking about your current residence, how satisfied are you? What is your overall level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction?  a) b) c) d)  Very Satisfied [go to question 33] Satisfied [go to question 33] Dissatisfied [go to question 32] Very Dissatisfied [go to question 32]  32. If you answered “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” in regards to your current rental residence, please identify the major reasons for your dissatisfaction: _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________  !  131!  33. Do you think your current residence…  a) Is in good repair, only needing regular maintenance b) Needs minor repairs such as replacing missing or loose floorboards and siding c) Needs major repairs to the plumbing, wiring and structure  34. Overall, how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with your neighborhood? a) Very Satisfied b) Satisfied c) Dissatisfied d) Very Dissatisfied  35. Why do you say that about your neighborhood? Please explain. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________  36 . Approximately how much do you pay for rent each month including utilities? $_________  37. What percentage of your total household monthly income is spent on housing? ________%  !  132!  Rental Housing Experiences in Kelowna  Now I would like to ask you several questions about your rental housing experience in Kelowna.  38. Please indicate how easy or difficult it is/was in the following rental housing experiences in Kelowna?  !!  !  Very!Easy!  Easy!  Very! Difficult!  Difficult!  Not!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  Applicable!  The!process!of!finding!a!rental!place!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  Finding!information!on!rental!housing!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  (vacancy!rates!etc)!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  Understanding!the!rental!housing!rules,!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  regulations,!and!procedures.!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  Looking!for!professional!help!in!rental!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  housing!services.!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  Access!to!amenities!(schools,!shopping,!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  public!transportation,!parks!etc).!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  Dealing!with!landlords!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  other!(specify)!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  _______________________________!  !!  !!  !!  !!  !!  133!  39. The following barriers and challenges may be reflective of your rental housing experience in Kelowna. Please indicate the trueness of each barrier/challenge from your experience. True  Somewhat True  Untrue  Don't Know  There is not enough rental housing. (low vacancy rates) Rental costs are too high (unaffordable) The rental homes in Kelowna are unsuitable for my household I did not have any information about rental housing laws, regulations, or procedures. I have experienced racial discrimination which searching for rental housing. I have experienced other forms of discrimination (gender, income, immigration status) while searching for rental housing. other (specify) _________________________  !  134!  40. In your opinion, what do you think is the greatest barrier or challenge that you have experienced in Kelowna’s rental housing market? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________  41. In what ways have you coped with barriers to housing in Kelowna’s rental housing market? (circle all that apply)  a) b) c) d) e) f) g)  Working more than one job Working Overtime Spending less money on other essentials such as food and clothing Borrowing money from the bank Borrowing money from friends and/or family members Living with friends or family to help share housing costs Other (specify) ___________________________________________  42. In your opinion, what was the most important coping strategy for the barriers that you have experienced in Kelowna’s rental housing market? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________  Discrimination in the City of Kelowna  I would also like to ask you some more questions on your perceived experiences of discrimination as an immigrant woman in Kelowna’s rental housing market.  !  135!  Overall, how much rental housing discrimination (if any) have you personally experienced as an immigrant woman in Kelowna? I am looking for an overall summary, on a scale of 1 to 5.  43. On the basis of your ‘race’, that is, being a person of colour,white,yellow, brown or black  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  44. On the basis of your sex (being an immigrant woman)  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  45. On the basis of your income level  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  46. On the basis of your source of income (for example, welfare)  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  !  136!  47. On the basis of your immigration status  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  48. On the basis of your language or accent  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  49. On the basis of your ethnic/cultural/national background  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  50. On the basis of your religion  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  !  137!  51. On the basis of your family size, household size/type (number and ages of children)  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  52. On the basis of any other factors (specify) __________________________  None at all 1  a little  a moderate amount  quite a bit  very much  2  3  4  5  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Housing Recommendations in Kelowna  Next, I will ask you some questions about what changes need to be made to improve the rental housing conditions and options for immigrant women in Kelowna.  53. Please circle the recommendations that you think would be the most helpful in improving the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in Kelowna.  a) More government subsidized housing or public housing should be built in Kelowna b) More affordable rental housing should be built in Kelowna c) Community organizations and agencies should provide rental housing services for immigrant women d) Education on rental housing procedures, laws, and regulations should be provided for immigrant women and landlords e) The government should provide more financial help for immigrant women f) A more welcoming community g) Other (please specify). ________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ !  138!  54. What rental housing types or options should be more available in Kelowna? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________  55. What aspects of landlord procedures or policies should be changed? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________  56. What do you think should be done to improve housing opportunities and conditions for immigrant women in Kelowna? _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________  A Few Final Questions  I now have a few final questions. Your answers here will help me understand your previous answers better and help me to compare your experiences with other immigrant women like you.  !  139!  57. What is your current marital status? (Fill in only one)  a) b) c) d) e) f)  Married Common-Law Divorced Widowed Single Other, Specify _______________________________________________________  58. In what year were you born? ______________________________  59. How old were you when you came to Canada? _______years old  60. As a landed immigrant woman, what was your immigration class upon arrival in Canada?  a) b) c) d) e)  Family class Refugee or designated class (including investor, entrepreneur, and self-employed worker) Retired Independent, assisted by relatives Other independent  61. How would you describe your ability to speak English?  a) b) c) d)  !  Fluent Very Good Moderate Poor  140!  62. How do you identify your ethnic background? a) White b) South Asian (e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lanka, etc) c) Chinese d) Black e) Filipino f) Latin American g) Arab h) Southeast Asian (e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian, Malaysian, Laotian, etc.) i) West Asian (e.g., Iranian, Afghan, etc.) j) Korean k) Japanese l) Other- Specify ________________________________________________  63. Before coming to Canada what was your occupation (job)?  64. What is your current occupation (job)? ________________________________________________________________________  !  141!  65. What is your highest level of educational attainment?  a) b) c) d) e)  I did not finish high school High school diploma Some post secondary including college diploma, apprenticeship, some university University Degree Other, Specify ____________________________________________________________  66. After coming to Canada, have you completed or are currently taking any additional education or training courses?  a) Yes b) No  67. In the past 12 months, what was your main activity? (Please choose only one)  a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i) j)  Working at a job or self-employed Looking for paid work Going to school Caring for own children (unpaid) Caring for other family members (unpaid) Household work Retired Maternity leave Long term illness Other, specify ________________________________________________________  68. I would like you to think about your total household income for the past year. Could you please tell me which of these broad categories it would fall into?  a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) i)  !  Less than $10,000 $10,001- $20,000 $20,001-$30,000 $30,001-$40,000 $40,001-$50,000 $50,001-$75,000 $75,001-$100,000 More than $100,000 Don’t know  142!  Finally, if you have any other comments or opinions about this survey or Kelowna’s housing market, please feel free to let me know.  Thank you very much for your time and cooperation! Please enter your name and address should you like a copy of my research report.  !  143!  Appendix H: Research Ethics- Certificate of Approval  !  144!  !  145!  

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