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.

Accessibility

In addition to self-referrals, referrals from the consortium agencies and community partners ensure accessibility.

Newcomer Involvement

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.

Stakeholder Collaboration

The project has a steering committee made up of representatives from the consortium agencies, the funder, and community partners referring-assessment centres.

Accountability

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.

Positive Outcome

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."

Anonymous

Transferability

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.

Background

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.
Funders
British Columbia Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation
Scope
Provincial/Territorial
Locations
Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, New Westminster, Surrey, and Vancouver, BC
Year of Launch
2008
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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