Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Richard Walsh-Bowers

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Second Advisor

Josephine Naidoo

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member

Third Advisor

Isaac Prilleltensky

Advisor Role

Thesis Committee Member


Refugees are often faced with insurmountable barriers (such as marginalization and underemployment) as they try to become integrated into their adopted countries. Sand Hills Community Development Inc. (SHCD) devised a transitional housing program to circumvent these barriers, by bolstering newcomers through providing housing and support. The program was located within a residential area and a multicultural housing cooperative, and housed refugee claimants and government-sponsored refugees, respectively. The purpose of this evaluation was to assess the degree of success SHCD had in providing a supportive environment for refugee families. Data for the evaluation were based on qualitative interviews which were conducted with board members, staff, and newcomer families. Pertinent to the outcome of this study was the fact that the author herself was a former president of SHCD. Issues relevant to the experience of an internal evaluator are, therefore, discussed. Two critical components which were found to be significant were the availability of good quality housing and the sense of support experienced by the families. Factors affecting SHCD’s ability to optimize the benefits from the housing included SHCD’s inability to foster systematic community development within Sand Hills Cooperative. The quality of support offered by SHCD was shaped by such factors as the presence of volunteers, SHCD’s informal settlement style, the quality of the staff, advocacy, and networking. The success of the settlement model may depend on the abandonment of the concept of transitional housing. The reasons for questioning the viability of transitional housing are highlighted in the study. The issues of burnout of service providers and the need for a re-examination of the concept of empowerment of newcomer families are also explored.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season