Common Threads

Fostering Belonging for Newcomers and Refugees

The right to asylum isn’t just about ensuring legal status and basic material conditions. It’s also about building belonging. For people in search of safety, this looks like:

– having their voices heard

– fostering meaningful connections with community

– being respected and represented as part of the social fabric and civic life of both the community and broader nation.

The Common Threads program seeks to foster belonging for newcomers and refugees through storytelling, research, and outreach.

Our Approach


Stories have the power to unite us and highlight our fundamental human connections.

The Hopes, Homes, Havens map is an interactive map of the journeys of those forced to flee. This map centers the voices and experiences of people seeking asylum to raise awareness about the realities of forced migration.  

Through audio and video stories, Hopes, Homes, and Havens showcases people’s reflections about their hopes and dreams, why they left home, and the lives they left behind. The interactive map also shows some of the havens that offer shelter en route and features the work of local community actors, to highlight our collective power to foster more inclusive societies, where feels they truly belong. 

View the Hopes, Homes, Havens Map 

If you are someone who had to flee their home or a community actor working in this sphere with a story you would like to share, we invite you to write to us at 

This map is intended to be a public educational and advocacy tool. We encourage organizations to incorporate this map to strengthen their existing programming, as well as to share this map with the hashtag #HopesAndDreams.  

Welcoming & Building Community with Newcomers in Montréal

SCSC incubated two initiatives in Montreal that aim to foster belonging for newcomers and refugee claimants: the Welcome Sessions and Honoring Culture through Food. Our partners in these initiatives – The Refugee Centre and Welcome Haven – are carrying these projects forward.

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Welcome Sessions 

Montrealers of all ages and backgrounds gather regularly to welcome asylum seekers who have recently arrived. The Welcome Sessions support newcomers in creating a sense of belonging and offer a space where newly arrived people and Montrealers can share essential information about life in the city and experiences of re-settling. Welcome Sessions are implemented by The Refugee Centre, with support from SCSC.  

Honouring Culture Through Food 

Food is a great way to foster social connectedness and bridge divides. The Honouring Culture Through Food gatherings bring people together to connect through food and cultivate space where newly arrived people have the agency to lead, co-create, and share. At each gathering, a participant volunteers to cook a meal that is meaningful for them and to share their culture with others. These gatherings are implemented by Welcome Haven, with support from SCSC.  

Interested in volunteering with newcomers in Montreal? Sign up here:  

Looking to Welcome Newcomers in Your Community?

Browse our toolkit on organizing Welcome Sessions in your city: Welcoming Newcomers Toolkit  

If you are interested in beginning Welcome Sessions in your community, and are looking for support, advice, or materials, reach out to us at  


Through our Social Connectedness Fellowship program, we support research on the complex factors driving people from their homes and the multi-faceted process of connecting in new communities.  

Learn more about past research projects below. 

Social Connectedness as Fostering Relationships between Indigenous Peoples & Newcomers to Canada: Gaps, Facilitations, & Future Directions by Paarth Mittal, Social Connectedness Fellow 2022  

Considering Alternatives to Immigration Detention: Implementing Community-Based Case Management Through Newcomer Support Services and Organizations in Ontario by Waghma Ahmadzay, Social Connectedness Fellow 2022   

The Unique Strengths and Weaknesses of Refugee Integration in Second Tier Cities by Sarah Roberts, Social Connectedness Fellow 2020 

The Post-Migration Mental Health of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Quebec by Priya Nair, Social Connectedness Fellow 2019 

Community-based Approaches to the Integration of Refugees and Asylum seekers in Montreal by Céline de Richoufftz, Social Connectedness Fellow 2018 

Asylum Seekers and Refugees with Intellectual Disabilities in Europe by Amy Luce, Social Connectedness Fellow 2018 

Facilitating Resilience-Building and Social Connectedness in the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Population of Greater Montreal by Ana Sofia Hibon, Social Connectedness Fellow 2017 



We are grateful to all our partners who make this work possible. 




We are always eager to collaborate and co-create. If you would like to partner with us, please reach out to