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CULTURAL AND ETHNO-RACIAL VARIABLES AFFECTING RESIDENT PARTICIPATION IN ASSISTED HOUSING: A LITERATURE REVIEW (1996)

By J.D. Hulchanski, J. Michalski, B. MacLaurin, and Y. Gebre-Selassie, Centre for Applied Social Research, University of Toronto, December, 1996.

For the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Ontario Region

This report provides a thorough review of the Canadian and international research on the cultural and ethno-racial variables that may affect resident participation in assisted housing. The focus is on identifying the range of potential barriers relating to the cultural and ethno-racial diversity common to many assisted housing communities. Based on this research, many variables and factors which may present barriers to participation in Canada's more culturally and ethno-racially diverse assisted housing communities are identified and the findings relating to them are briefly summarized.

The potential barriers identified include primary and secondary characteristics of the residents themselves, as well as situational, organizational, and contextual factors that can affect diverse people's willingness or capacity to interact. Although the research literature identifies a wide range of potential barriers it does not address the relative importance of particular barriers (i.e., which are the most 'powerful' or 'damaging' impediments to participation). There is also the issue of how the potential cultural and ethno-racial barriers combine (the ‘interaction effects') to create the most intractable barriers to resident participation. Thus, even though the available research is very helpful in identifying a broad array of potential barriers, a great deal of additional research is required before we have a more applied - i.e., policy- and practice-relevant - understanding of these barriers.

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