The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) is a not-for-profit organization providing social housing to refugee newcomer families. IRCOM collaborated with university partners on research projects to:
- highlight their innovative housing model
- identify factors that contribute to successful settlement of newcomer families
This research took place in 2019-2020 and 2021, enhancing IRCOM's research and data management capacities. These improvements have led to better tenant outcomes and the sharing of best practices with other social housing organizations.
3 Key Insights
Collaboration and technology are vital for the social housing/settlement sector, necessitating improved coordination and knowledge sharing regarding technological advancements.
The critical process of selecting a database provider requires an in-depth assessment of organizational needs.
It is essential to choose a database provider who adheres to best practices in knowledge management.
Project scope and expected outcomes
A unique social housing model
IRCOM offers a distinctive housing model that aids refugees and newcomers arriving in Winnipeg, addressing affordable housing shortages, discrimination and language barriers. However, limited resources hindered IRCOM's ability to track the model's outcomes effectively.
The "Knowledge Mobilization in IRCOM's Social Housing" project built on prior recommendations, enhancing IRCOM's research and data management capabilities. This improvement allowed IRCOM to better serve newcomer families and share best practices with other social housing organizations.
Cultivating a learning culture and sharing knowledge
The project had 4 primary goals:
- Learning culture: Cultivate a learning culture within IRCOM through a participatory approach.
- Data management: Share knowledge on data management and performance evaluations.
- Tangible changes: Increase awareness that research and evaluation lead to tangible changes.
- Model awareness: Raise awareness of IRCOM's model, which provides safe, affordable housing for low-income refugees.
Creating and sharing deliverables
The project produced workshops, training materials, slide decks and a manual for IRCOM staff and partners, as well as for sharing with other housing and non-profit service providers.
On track to support housing
Limited resources prevented IRCOM from tracking its model's outcomes effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic emphasized the need for digital processes, leading to comprehensive case management and personalized support. A customer relationship management system called CARMIS was implemented to facilitate case management and data storage and analysis.
A Data Procedures Manual was created and staff members were trained to input, manage and analyze data.
How this research can be used
This project serves as an example of how a housing organization can implement a new data management system. Knowledge Mobilization enhances the exchange of knowledge between researchers and community stakeholders to inform decisions about public policy and professional practice.
Sharing the findings
The research findings have been shared widely through social media, newsletters, websites and conferences. Organizations like the Manitoba Non-profit Housing Association and the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations can also benefit from these materials.
The project's next steps include providing ongoing training to IRCOM teams in CARMIS and increasing collaboration between sectors.
Program: National Housing Strategy Research and Planning Fund
Activity Stream: Program of Research
Title of the Research: Knowledge mobilization in social housing for refugee families
Lead Applicant: Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc. (IRCOM)
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg
- Faculty of Social Work, University of Manitoba
- Community Engaged Research on Immigration Network, University of Winnipeg