Shortage of housing in the way of new arrivals helping with the shortage of labor


For the government, newcomers are part of the solution to the country’s labor shortage, but settlement organizations say another shortage, housing, is standing in the way of that goal.

The Miramichi Regional Multicultural Association issued a notice to newcomers this week regarding the housing shortage in the province.

« Available housing is at extremely low levels, » the notice on the organization’s website and social media reads.

« People considering relocating to Miramichi are strongly recommended to find housing prior to their arrival. »

While rural and urban areas grapple with the housing crisis, the problem in Saint John has not reached the point of advising newcomers to commit to a house or apartment before seeing it in person, said Lina Gharbiya, English-speaking newcomer settlement manager with the Saint John Center for Newcomers John.

She said it’s because there are short-term rental properties available where people can stay while they search.

« There’s a crisis, but we’re not that bad yet, » she said. « But my God, it’s really, really hard for people to find a place, even for locals. »

Craig Silliker, executive director of the Miramichi organization, said the notice was needed because people were coming into town and not finding housing.

« [We’ve] getting more and more phone calls, and people showing up on our doorstep here in RMA and Miramichi with no place to live or permanent housing,” he said. Moncton Information Morning.

The organization’s advice is also aimed at local employers, who also face challenges when hiring internationally.

« We’ve even had employers tell us that they made job offers to newcomers, but couldn’t come because they couldn’t find them accommodation, » Silliker said.

Last year, the vacancy rate in New Brunswick fell from 3.1% to 1.7%. Housing supply is scarce, especially affordable housing.

Silliker said all levels of government must ensure people who want to live in New Brunswick have housing.

« We need newcomers here, you know, for a better community, and they need a place to live, » he said.

Recent real estate announcements

On Monday, the provincial and federal governments announced they would jointly fund an organization focused on finding rural housing called Housing Hub of New Brunswick Inc.

With $1.6 million earmarked for funding, it will have four staff who will seek development funds, connect with developers and work with all levels of government and private businesses to increase the number of rental units available.

The province also announced $100 million for the construction of 380 affordable housing units and the renovation of 110 existing units.

To grow the population, the province has already announced its goal of welcoming 10,000 new permanent residents to the province each year before the end of this decade.

Silliker said the number of immigrants had increased even before this announcement. He said that in 30 years, between 1980 and 2010, Miramichi had about 280 new immigrants.

But from 2016 to 2021, Miramichi saw 295 new residents who identified as immigrants.

« What previously took the Miramichi region 30 years to accomplish from 1980 to 2010, it has now accomplished and in fact [exceeded] over a period of five years,” he said.

He said that counting newcomers from Ukraine fleeing war, students and temporary workers, he said it’s safe to say Miramichi has actually welcomed 600 newcomers over the past five years.

He said his organization tries to help people navigate the rental market, but luck plays a big role.

“Places are breaking up very quickly, because apart from new arrivals, we have also had an influx of people from other parts of Canada,” he said.

He said people moving to Miramichi should try to find housing before heading to their new city and, if that’s not possible, budget to stay in a hotel for about a month or more.



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