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Event #4

Event topic
Improving newcomer access to housing services through cross-sector


Wellesley Community Centre (495 Sherbourne St., Toronto, ON M4X 1K7),

Room B, main floor

Registration page

According to the research by Learning Enrichment Foundation and Fred Victor, “Among newcomers, homelessness occurs most often on the relative side of the spectrum and is almost entirely “hidden”. Newcomers tend to access informal networks before formal housing supports due to varying degrees of close community affiliation, shame at “being a burden on the system”, and the inaccessibility of housing supports.

What is being done around the city to tackle this challenge? What is your input in improving accessibility of housing services for new Canadians? What services and resources are available and how to effectively use them? What can we learn from cross sector collaboration?

Attendees learned from the panel discussion led by Janet, Lindsay, Ray and Varni the experiences of Housing Access and Support Services for Newcomers and Resources Exist for Networking and Training programs in reaching newcomers in need of housing support through cross-sector learning and networking. Attendees also got a better understanding of available housing support services and shared ideas and innovative practices with fellow collaborators.


Janet Fairfield

Organization & Program
East York East Toronto Family Resources, Housing Programs and Services, Resources Exist for Networking and Training (RENT)
RENT cross sector networking & learning opportunities. Overview of housing services in the city.
Janet Fairfield has worked in the housing help sector for the past 10 years. Her interest in housing began in 2000 as a Toronto tenant advocating on her own apartment building's issues, while at the same time completing housing research as a Social Work student at York. Janet joined St. Stephen’s Corner Drop-in as a Housing Worker in 2004 while also serving as Housing Coordinator at Interval House women’s shelter. Employed at EYET since 2006, she helped to launch the program, and supported the developmental phases of the new housing worker training program, TESHH. For the past three years, she has been EYET's facilitator for the Resources Exist for Networking and Training (RENT) program. Janet currently serves as community Co-chair for the Housing and Homeless Services Network, City of Toronto. She can be reached at

Lindsay MacDougall and Ray Stephens

Organization and Program
Fred Victor & Learning Enrichment Foundation, Housing Access and Support Services-Newcomers Program (HASS)
HASS program for newcomers. Workshop series: Learning Opportunities for Settlement and Housing Workers (scope/outreach, challenges, lessons learned, results up to date).
Ray Stephens has worked for The Learning Enrichment Foundation for over fifteen years in various capacities. He launched, the first newcomer tax preparation program for LEF. He was the coordinator of the Canadian Securities program, worked as a settlement Services counsellor for over two years and for the past year has been working in the first housing access and support Services for Newcomer program, a partnership with The Learning enrichment Foundation and The Fred Victor Center. He has also worked has a shift manager at the Scarborough Hope Center Shelter.
Lindsay MacDougall has worked within various non-profit sectors, including newcomer settlement, disability support work, employment support and a myriad of roles within the housing sector. For the past year, she has been working in the Housing Access and Support Services for Newcomers Program, a partnership with The Fred Victor Centre and The Learning enrichment Foundation and is currently acting as the interim manager. Before joining Fred Victor as a Housing & Settlement Worker, Lindsay worked for the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, in a research capacity. She has also worked as a housing co-ordinator in non-profit & co-operative housing.

Varni Tayalan, Settlement Worker, Skills for Change

Organization and Program
Skills for Change, Housing Access and Support Services
The Benefits of Collaboration for Common goal: Partnership with HASS
With over five years of experience working with newcomers to Canada, Varni immensely enjoys taking part in different agency wide initiatives and novel projects. Her passion to assist newcomers came from her own experience as a newcomer to Canada nine years ago. Although her education encompasses a Masters in Business and IT, also recently having completed a diploma in social work, she re-discovered her career in the non-profit sector. Her enthusiasm to work in this sector comes from the dedication of having volunteered and worked for many years as a young student. Prior to joining Skills for Change, she worked at North York Community House where she facilitated various women’s groups. She continues to challenge herself by creating quality partnerships and providing services in the areas where there is a gap for new immigrants to Canada.


This session run in collaboration with:

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