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ROMEL: the reference point for new arrivals in Montreal

ROMEL: the reference point for new arrivals in Montreal

The Regroupement des Organismes de Montréal-Ethnique pour le Logement (ROMEL). Amalgamation of Organizations of Ethnic Montrealers for Housing (AOEMH) is the main entry point for immigrants who need to find lodging once they arrive in their newly adopted city, Montreal. In its Côte-des-Neiges offices, the organization has a staff that can speak 17 languages at the least, and of course French and English.

The not-for-profit organization was founded in 1984 in cooperation with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and with the Société d'habitation du Québec (SHQ) (Quebec Housing Corporation – QHC). It manages 500-600 units mainly in the area. Most immigrants to Montreal live in this part of Montreal where the population is traditionally very high.

We interviewed the Managing Director of the organization – Mazen Houbeib – along with APQ President Martin Messier, and a strong spirit of cooperation was established between the two organizations.

Mr. Houdeib showed us a task sheet made by his organization that has a primary goal of welcoming newly-arrived immigrants, help them find lodging, all the while training them how to better integrate easily into Quebec society. In addition, housing subsidies provided by the governments, including follow up activities, are managed at the centre.

Guide: How to find lodging…

Several tools have been introduced to help new-arrivals integrate into Montreal life. Information brochures and video cassettes have been developed to assist in training these new tenants who come from all parts of the globe. An efficient structure has been created to facilitate integration into the milieu which is not always apparent for several immigrants that are welcomed to Quebec.

The Quebec environment obliges training these immigrants so they become reassured, secure and informed about the laws and regulations, without forgetting their rights, especially those as tenants, and those of landlords.

In the introduction of the “How to find lodging guide”, the Managing Director in his message states “We have updated the information and have added practical information that will help you carefully choose your new lodging. You will also be able to understand the regulations that govern this housing sector and become familiar with the daily tasks of your new life.”

It should be remembered that these new arrivals, for the most part, have no idea what lodging comprises in Quebec, including the number of rooms, equipment, utilities, and so on. This seems easy enough, but a discussion with the organizers during our visit showed us the complexity of the entire integration procedure. ROMEL is truly there to welcome immigrants and help them integrate into their new environment.

These new tenants are informed of the methods to be used keep their new lodging well maintained.

With the enthusiasm of Mr. Houbeib and his team, landlords should not have any concerns about all the efforts that are being made to integrate newly arrived immigrants into Montreal rental units.

About the author

Berthold Lévesque

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