Step Ahead Settlement Enhancement Project
Step Ahead is a project designed to assist refugees and immigrants who are facing multiple challenges to their settlement. The hallmark of the project is mobile outreach, whereby settlement counsellors assess referred refugee and immigrant families in their home environment and together, develop action plans to lift specified barriers to their settlement. The project empowers newcomers towards the goals of integration and self-sufficiency through intensive case management.
In addition to self-referrals, referrals from the consortium agencies and community partners ensure accessibility.
A newcomer family or individual typically works with a settlement enhancement counsellor for one to one-and-a-half years, during which time the individual(s) and the counsellor collaboratively develop an action plan to reduce identified settlement and integration barriers. Participants provide feedback via regular satisfaction surveys.
The project has a steering committee made up of representatives from the consortium agencies, the funder, and community partners referring-assessment centres.
The project is accountable to its participants, funder, and the public. Step Ahead provides quarterly statisical and narrative reports to its government funder. As a pilot, Step Ahead has gone through two extensive evaluations over a three-year period. Conducted by a private consultant contracted by the funder, these evaluations included intensive interviews with newcomers, as well as focus groups. Step Ahead also conducts satisfaction surveys at regular intervals and an exit survey when a participant’s file is closed.
Newcomers with multi-barriers get intensive support in their settlement and integration into Canadian society. They learn about Canada and its culture and, as a result, become more capable in dealing with their problems, meeting their needs, and pursuing their personal goals. Step Ahead has served 777 people, representing 188 families from the beginning of the project in February 2008 until early March 2011. An outside evaluation of Step Ahead has shown significant improvement in newcomers’ knowledge and understanding of Canadian culture, laws, norms, and "systems".
"I was in a bad situation and Step Ahead helped me to get out from that and overcome my difficulties."
The project is being successfully implemented in six communities of Greater Vancouver (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, New Westminster, Surrey, and Vancouver) and can be transferred to other communities.
- Service Providers
- A consortium of five immigrant settlement agencies in Greater Vancouver, namely, MOSAIC as the lead agency, Burnaby Family Life, DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, Immigrant Services Society of BC, and S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
- British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
- Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, New Westminster, Surrey, and Vancouver, BC
- Year of Launch
- Languages of Delivery
- English, French, Arabic, Dari/Pashto, Kirundi, Kirwanda, Lingala, Nuba, Nuer, Pwo/S’gaw, Swahili, and Vietnamese
- Newcomer Groups Served
- Refugees and immigrants who have multiple barriers to their settlement and integration
- Expected Results
- Information and Orientation (Newcomers make informed decisions about their settlement and understand life in Canada)
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