Arranging temporary housing before you arrive

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So you’ve set the date and you’re ready to buy your plane ticket to Manitoba. Have you thought about where you will be living once you land? If you do not have an idea about accommodations yet, now would be a good time to plan and arrange for it.

The first step is determining which particular city and area you will be settling, knowing more about the place, and finding good options for you (and your family). You can start with google maps, Navut, or the Travel Manitoba site. On sites like Navut, you can indicate your priorities for a good neighborhood (near downtown? Near schools, or amenities?). Then it will shortlist areas that match your preferences. Initial research on houses for sale or rent (on Kijiji, Realtor.ca, Winnipeg Rental Network or canpages.ca) will probably tell you that you would need to fulfill certain requirements that you can meet only if you are already in Manitoba. Also, since inspecting the place would be impossible while you’re still in your home country, it could be dangerous to choose places based just on pictures. This is why most arrange for temporary accommodations first and then look for a more permanent place later, after a few weeks or months upon arriving in Manitoba.

Newcomers usually have these options for temporary housing/accommodations:

Staying with family or friends

This is the safest and most economical option for new immigrants. Your sponsor, relatives and friends could be willing to provide board and lodging for you (and your family). This may also include a warm welcome at the airport and transportation to their place. If you have such an option, you’re very lucky! When you arrive, be a good house guest and remember that this is a temporary arrangement. Don’t overstay your welcome!

Apartments, rental houses

If your friends or relatives do not have a spare room, they can help you by looking for good apartments or rental places. Especially if they are in good standing and are willing to vouch for you, they would be able to apply on your behalf. However, if you don’t know anybody in Manitoba, or if your friends can’t do it for you, you can contact immigrant serving organizations and ask for help. One such agency is New Journey Housing. They help newcomers find a place and act as a broker for them. You can email them to ask for assistance. And while you are on their site, you should also check their great resources about housing and maintenance and their upcoming workshops.

Booking a hotel or hostel

Hotels/Motels/Bed and Breakfasts
If you have the funds for it, you can always book a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast for several days (or weeks, depending on your funds). This will give you time after you arrive to look for more suitable and less expensive lodgings. You can search and book through the Canadian Hotel Guide, Bed and breakfast Association of Manitoba, or sites like Trivago.

Hostels
The more practical alternative, especially if you are alone, would be hostels or homestays. You can check these sites for booking: Backpackers Winnipeg, Hotel Royal Plaza, University of Winnipeg downtown hostel, or sign up with safehomestay.

When booking online, stay safe by using only legitimate sites. Don’t click on pop-up ads that may offer lower rates. These will connect you to third-party sites that could scam you and collect your information. If possible, call and speak to a representative of the establishment that you wish to book from. Ask questions and ensure that everything is above board before clicking and paying online. For additional information on hotel scams, read How to avoid the most common hotel scams by Kelly Dunning on Flight Network.com.

Welcome houses for refugees and new immigrants

Some immigrant serving organizations in Manitoba provide temporary accommodations or help you find one. For refugees, a sponsor or an agency may handle applications for you with such organizations. However, non-refugees can apply only after arriving in Manitoba. Nevertheless, it can still be a good idea to contact immigrant serving organizations prior to arriving as they may help connect you with other services that you may need.

If you have no one to pick you up at the airport, you can check this page on the Richardson International Airport site for taxi or sedan service, shuttle, or mass transit.

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Community Resources

Here is a list of temporary housing options in Winnipeg for newly-arrived Manitobans from New Journey Housing.

Read the article Your “before moving to Canada” checklist (and download the actual checklist) to guide you in your preparations.

If you need other forms of assistance for moving and settling, read the article Do you need assistance for getting settled? Here’s where to get help for more information.

Check if the hotel or hostel you’re interested in is bed bug free at the Bed Bug Registry.

Students who need temporary housing can check this list from the University of Manitoba: Temporary Housing.

Read Housing basics: What you need to know to learn more about housing options in Manitoba.

Know more about Manitoba Housing Authority’s Housing and Community Development programs.

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Quiz

Arranging temporary housing before you arrive

Select the best definition for each word/phrase as used in the article above.

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