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Multiple Facets of Housing Discrimination Sutama Ghosh York University.

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Presentation on theme: "Multiple Facets of Housing Discrimination Sutama Ghosh York University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Multiple Facets of Housing Discrimination Sutama Ghosh York University

2 Housing Experiences of Immigrants and Refugees in Toronto Newcomers struggle for affordable, adequate and suitable housing Discrimination Type: Institutional and Systemic Discrimination along: Racial, linguistic, class (income and source of income), and culture Real Perceived Whites (i.e., the Charter groups) discriminate against Coloured people (i.e., the immigrants/refugees from non European countries) Who Discriminates?

3 Housing Discrimination Actors Private Private Landlords Real Estate Agents Public Persons Allotting Social Housing Immigration Agencies

4 The Case Study We are Not All the Same The Differential Migration, Settlement Patterns, and Housing Trajectories of Indian Bengalis and Bangladeshis in Toronto Research Methods: Primary data: 16 key informant interviews through purposive sampling 60 semi-structured interviews with households in face to face situations. Households were selected through a reputational sampling method Secondary data (e.g., census, LIDS)

5 Migration: When did the Indian Bengalis come to Canada?

6 Indian Bengali Respondents at the Time of Arrival Young, highly educated, urban backgrounds Engaged in white collar jobs in India : IT professionals Small households 19 out of 30 households came to Canada through an immigration agency Most (17 out of 30=89%) started their housing career by living in a guest house arranged by the immigration agency

7 Why Use the Services of the Immigration Agency? They told us [that] we would not be able to rent an apartment by ourselves…so, we should stay with them (Mrs. A. P.: 2003)

8 The Guest House Arranged by the agency often consisted of a three-bedroom rental apartment in a high-rise building The living room, kitchen and bathrooms were shared. Each household had its own bedroom For this accommodation (i.e., just one room in a shared apartment), the agency charged each household between $650 and $ close to the cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto

9 Exploitation The immigration agency painted all these rosy pictures…you dont worry, just make the payments and [we] will do everything. What we found? Just devastating, just devastating…it was not a guesthouse, you know, it was a building…we were to share the apartment with two other families (Mr. D. B.: 2003) They [meaning the building management] did nothing for the upkeep, the apartment was really dirty, [there were] cockroaches everywhere, bad plumbing (Mr. S. Dn.: 2003) You know, when we asked the agency to put us in another apartment building…they said…pay an additional $800 for the rest of the time…already half the month had passed, so I told him [meaning husband] we should simply bite the bullet and try to get out of there as soon as possible (Mrs. S. B.: 2003) Now we know that we were really cheated when we came…they [immigration agent] took advantage of our ignorance (Mrs. A. B.: 2003)

10 Conclusions Need to recognize housing careers begin before the immigrants actually arrive in Canada Discrimination is not binarywhite vs colouredit involves multiple actors, at various stages of the housing careers Immigrant institutions may facilitate settlements, but these can be exploitative as well

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