In many countries around the world, LGBTQI+ people face extreme levels of violence and ostracization from their families, the state, and their communities. Rainbow Railroad responds directly to the intersection of global forced displacement and LGBTQI+ persecution, helping at-risk LGBTQI+ people move to safer countries.
But, what happens after Rainbow Railroad facilitates the journey of an LGBTQI+ person to a safer country like Canada? While the immediate threat to their safety may be gone, there are new challenges associated with resettling.
Often first among these are feelings of isolation and loneliness, and concerns about accessing stable housing. Finding stable housing is essential for a newly arrived refugee because it provides a foundation for the rest of their life. But there are many barriers including the high cost of housing and landlords requiring credit checks or previous landlord references, which refugees are often unable to provide. Finding safe and stable housing is often the first step in a life-long journey.
That’s why Rainbow Railroad is proud to work with Refugee Housing Canada, an innovative startup based in the Greater Toronto and Vancouver Areas which connects newly arrived refugees to community members who can provide stable and affordable housing.
Here’s how it works: People with spare bedrooms to rent sign up to be hosts on the Refugee Housing Canada website. They create an online listing, which includes photos, the house rules, room availability, and rent price. Meanwhile, resettlement agencies, like Rainbow Railroad, give refugees access to the online platform, where they can match with a host.
Only refugees who have been resettled through Rainbow Railroad or other partner agencies can access listings on the website, ensuring that all candidates for housing on the platform are vetted and verified. Homeowners can open their homes and hearts to those in need, while refugees can rest easy knowing they have a temporary and welcoming home while they start their new life in Canada.
Everyone deserves access to safe, stable, affordable housing, and Refugee Housing Canada helps to foster supportive communities for newcomers by connecting them with housing.
If you live in the Greater Toronto or Vancouver Areas, you can learn more about the program and sign up to be a host here.