A place-based approach of social integration

Miu Chung Yan, Ph.D.
University of British Columbia
School of Social Work
Settlement House
 Toynbee Hall (1848),
London East End,
traditionally the
immigrant and poor
 A place-based
approach –
neighbourhood level
 Machinery of
connection: brought
wealthy university
students and
volunteers to
neighbourhood to
serve the residents.
Settlement House in N. America
 1886, Neighbourhood Guild
(University Settlement), NYC
 1889, Hull House in Chicago
(Jane Addams)
1910, 400 settlement houses in
the US
1894, Arrived Toronto and
All in immigrant concentrated
Many have been renamed to
neighbourhood houses/centres
Settlement House & Social
Jane Addams:
Hull House was soberly opened on
the theory that the dependence of
classes on each other is reciprocal;
and that as the social relation is
essentially a reciprocal relation, it
gives a form of expression that has
peculiar value.
A community organizer in San
Yan, M. C., & Lauer, S. (2008).
[NH/C] is not a problem- oriented
organization. … . [I]t provides
something positive for people to do
instead of people staying in their own
little world closed at home, and so it’s
a nice way also to create links.
How NH Connect People?
 An hub in impoverished neighbourhood: stable physical
structure, “institutional proximity” >>
An open and inclusive space >>
 Bridging people by servicing
Multiple and flexible services for all ages >>
Volunteer opportunity: networking and asset building >>
Intercultural solidarity through clubs and events >>
 Community organizing
Coalition building and coordination >>
Inclusive platforms for various community interests >>
Neighbourhood House: Vancouver
Low income immigrant in
Vancouver, 2001
1. Gordon NH
2. Kitsilano NH
Vancouver East
1. Downtown
Eastside NH
2. Kiwassa NH
3. Frog Hollow NH
4. Mt Pleasant NH
5. Cedar Cottage
6. Collingwood NH
7. Little Mountain
8. South Vancouver
Neighbourhood Centre: SF
Neighbourhood Centres:
1. Telegraph Hill NH
2. Donaldina Cameron House
3. Richmond District NC
4. Booker T. Washington
Community Service Center
5. Mission NC
6. Potrero Hill Neighborhood
7. Bernal Height NC
8. IT Bookman Community
9. Visitacion Valley
Community Center
Open and
Inclusive Space
A key informant in Vancouver:
So I would say the role of the neighborhood house is more to help a mix of the
newcomers. … Also I think their [NHs’] role is more to let them [newcomers] know about
the resources. Also there are more opportunities [in NHs] for them, should be more
opportunities to participate and also kind of contribute to the society.
Flexible Services
An ED of a NH/C in Vancouver:
“Our challenge is to work with
communities to develop
integrative programs and
services that are changing the
diverse population.”
Probably ninety percent (volunteers)
fit your definition of newcomers.
This is a place to come and get some
labor market experience or
experience that relates to the labor
market and is transferable.
We had about 15 parents who were trained in there. Uh, we had Chinese, Vietnamese,
Aboriginal, Indo, South Asian, Filipinos, and many different backgrounds and they
went on to become . . . We paid them an honorarium to do some outreach work in the
community. The program is called LEAD. I really like the LEAD program because it
provides a leadership requirement training for women of immigrant background. But
what it does really is a bridging because it speak to people very informally.
Cultural Events
… like in October, we organized a community event which is
one of the biggest community events held at our center,
which is called the Pumpkin Torch. In that event, we invite
school children from the neighborhood, from the community,
to join our huge Halloween celebration. And people from
different cultural groups, different languages, when they see
the pumpkin torch, they all smile, they just have a lot of fun
of Halloween, and then they all enjoy the activities.
(A frontline worker at a NH in Vancouver)
Coalition Building
 In San Francisco
 Richmond District NC is involved in the Inter-faith Agencies
Coalition, which cultivates cross-cultural relationships in the
 Cameron House is part of the San Francisco Domestic Violence
Coalition, an advocacy group for female victims
 Mission NC is aligned with the Anti-Displacement Coalition,
which fights against neighborhood gentrification
 In Vancouver,
 South Vancouver NH: Safe Harbour program, Sunset Community
Literacy Plan
 Collingwood NH: Renfrew-Collingwood Multicultural Artist
 Kitsilano NH: Westside Food Security Collaborative, Westside
Seniors Empowerment Coalition
 In short, a place-based, locally governed, multi-service,
community building mechanism.
 Notable social invention of the Progressive Era (Putnam),
Bringing back settlement house (Husock)
 Neighbourhood hub (Toronto), Community Anchor (SF)
 However, challenges NH face in performing its social
integration function
 Lack of public and policy recognition
 Funding issues: no core funding, unstable program funding
 Lack of research: evidence
Pictures and photos in this presentation are from
Collingwood NH, South Vancouver NH, Mission NCs,
Bernal Height NC, Telegraph Hill NC
For references used in this presentation,
please contact me at [email protected]

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