03/14/2012 08:52 EDT | Updated 05/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Housing harder to find for newcomers, study shows

New research out of the University of B.C. suggests it's more difficult for newcomers to Canada to find affordable housing, especially in big and expensive cities like Vancouver.

The study, led by researcher Daniel Hiebert, looked at 600 immigrants and refugees across the country.

It found that a refugee living in Vancouver is often putting more than half their income towards an overcrowded home.

“Maybe it's a two-bedroom apartment and they've got five kids. And there's nowhere for those kids to quietly study English, because the place is just buzzing,” said Hiebert.

Hiebert said problems like mould, inadequate heating or bug infestations often make the situation even worse.

The study found that lower incomes, difficulty with the language, and lack of internet literacy all create problems for people in finding good quality affordable housing.

Hiebert said refugees get only limited support when it comes to finding a home.

“But what they typically do not get is accompaniment — someone actually going with them to a landlord," he said.

Hiebert said he hopes the federal government will make housing support a priority when it comes to funding services for newcomers.