About CHEC | CCRL
Who We Are
What We Do
Why It’s Important
Our mission is to accelerate evidence-based solutions that advance Canada’s National Housing Strategy to ensure every Canadian has “housing that meets their needs and that they can afford”.
Who We Are
We bring together a network of more than 30 academics from across Canada and beyond who are engaged in independent, in-depth research exploring the connections between income, housing and health.
Our non-academic partners include more than 50 organizations representing some 2,000 policymakers, housing providers and equity-seeking groups who are committed to growing Canada’s supply of safe, adequate, accessible and affordable housing.
Jim Dunn is the Senator William McMaster Chair in Urban Health Equity. Working with communities in southern Ontario and beyond, Jim has explored how housing, economic inequality and attributes of neighbourhoods affect residents’ mental and physical health. Since 2005, Jim has been following residents of Toronto’s Regent Park public housing complex through a redevelopment project, finding clear evidence that people who feel safer and more satisfied with their housing also enjoy improvements to their overall health. He has also spent more than a decade studying the impact subsidized housing has on the mental health of its residents in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dr. Julia Christensen is the Canada Research Chair in Northern Governance and Public Policy and an Assistant Professor in Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Most recently, Julia’s research endeavours have focused on the social dimensions of urbanization in northern and Arctic regions, innovations in the area of community-led housing initiatives, transitional and supportive housing models in the northern context, and interactions between housing policy with other policy domains.
University of Alberta
Dr. Damian Collins is a Professor of Human Geography in the Faculty of Science, at the University of Alberta. Damian is the Director of Building a Resilient Community Housing Sector in Canada, a research partnership within the Collaborative Housing Research Network. Reflecting his particular interests in cities, human rights, and housing, Damian focuses on the right to housing, which is of central importance in his current SSHRC-funded research.
Simon Fraser University
Dr. Sarah Canham is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the College of Social Work and the Department of City and Metropolitan Planning in the College of Architecture and Planning at The University of Utah. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Simon Fraser University’s Department of Gerontology. Sarah’s Vancouver-based community research engages with a broad network of providers, clinicians, and persons with lived experience to examine homelessness, housing security, health and social service delivery, mental health, and aging. Using a social justice lens, Sarah’s work seeks solutions to systemic barriers to aging well in various environments.
Dr. Penny Gurstein is Professor and immediate past Director of the School of Community and Regional Planning and the Centre for Human Settlements at UBC. Penny is also the founding Director of the Housing Research Collaborative, a community of housing researchers, providers and policy makers focused on understanding systemic impediments in the housing system and the development of models to address housing unaffordability. In addition, she is the Co-Chair of the Pacific Housing Research Network.
Cape Breton University
Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid is an Associate Professor in the MBA in Community Economic Development program. Her research covers housing, community development, the social economy, and social care. She is currently leading two research projects on affordable housing, one as part of the Collaborative Housing Research Network and the second in partnership with Cape Breton Community Housing Association. In 2018, she was awarded the Gold Roof Award for Housing Research Excellence by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
David Amborski is the founding director of the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development and is the academic director of Ryerson’s City Building Institute. His research and consulting interests lie in the areas where urban planning interfaces with economics, especially in the domains of urban policy, along with land and housing development. He has taught seminars for in-career government officials both in Canada and internationally.
University of Adelaide
Emma Baker is Professor of Housing Research at the University of Adelaide where she leads the Housing and Healthy Cities Research Group. Her work examines the health impacts of housing, and location in urban and regional environments, producing academic, as well as policy-relevant research. She is currently leading the construction of a national housing conditions dataset. Recent publications include an analysis of the effects of cold housing on individual health, a quantification of the health outcomes of housing security and stability, and and assessment of the cumulative influence of multiple housing problems on health and wellbeing.
City of Hamilton
Paul Johnson is General Manager, Healthy and Safe Communities at the City of Hamilton. He is responsible for overseeing the city’s work in fire, paramedics, housing, health, and human services, including its social housing portfolio. Paul previously spearheaded the City’s Healthy Neighbourhoods Strategy and served as Director of the LRT Project. Before joining the City, Paul worked as Executive Director for Wesley Urban Ministries.
Martin Gallié is a law professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has studied housing conditions for domestic workers and migrant farm workers, litigation in housing law in Nunavik and evictions procedures in Canada, France and the United States. His methods include field research directly observing housing tribunal proceedings and his work is often conducted in partnership with legal advocacy organizations. He is currently studying litigation about unhealthy conditions and mechanisms to fight against them.
UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence
Ken Gibb is Director of the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), Professor in Housing Economics (Urban Studies) within the School of Social and Political Sciences, amongst several other roles. Ken’s research interests are focused on the economic, financial and policy dimensions of housing. His current interests are on the financing and economics of social and affordable housing, and, the application of behavioural economics to housing. Ken has carried out research for government departments, the Economic and Social Research Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, trade bodies, the private sector and international organisations like the OECD.
Directrice régionale de santé publique de Montréal
Dr. David Kaiser is the Director of the Residency Program in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at McGill University and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at ESPUM and the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health at the University.
David is also specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the Regional Public Health Department of Montreal. David is dedicated to working on various issues related to the urban environment and health, such as housing and environmental noise.
St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Stephen Hwang is the Director of the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital, where he holds the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital Chair in Homelessness, Housing, and Health. He is known internationally for his research on interventions to improve the health of people experiencing homelessness and to interrupt chronic homelessness itself. Dr. Hwang is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a practicing physician in general internal medicine.
Mylène Riva holds the Canada Research Chair in Housing, Community and Health and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University. The research activities of Prof. Riva and her team are focused on the socio-environmental determinants of health, and especially on housing and communities as important place-based determinants of health and as settings for interventions to improve population health and to reduce inequalities. She leads and collaborates on various scientific initiatives in these areas.
Carleton University / Focus Consulting
Steve Pomeroy is Head of Focus Consulting Inc. and Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE) at Carleton University. He is widely recognized as one of the leading housing policy experts in Canada and was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for his contributions to housing policy and research. Steve has been an advisor to national associations, municipalities, provinces and territories, as well as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada’s federal housing agency. His work also includes a number of comparative studies examining housing systems across a range of countries, in comparison to Canada.
University of New Brunswick
Julia Woodhall-Melnik is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts at the University of New Brunswick and Director of the Laboratory for Housing and Mental Health. Julia’s research explores housing as a social determinant of physical and mental health, addiction and concurrent disorders. She also studies the impacts of climate change on housing outcomes and mental health and has conducted research on the mental health effects of housing loss due to flooding.
St. Michael's Hospital
Dr. Pat O’Campo is a social epidemiologist whose research includes examinations of the social determinants of adult mental health, intimate partner violence and children’s well-being, prevention of homelessness and how residential neighborhoods influence well-being. She has been conducting research on gender inequalities and women’s health for over 25 years. Dr. O’Campo’s work often focuses on upstream determinants of health including quantifying the impacts of structural issues and social programs on women’s well-being.
What We Do
We work to:
- Facilitate access to housing data
- Connect policy makers, researchers, housing providers and people with lived experience
- Identify housing research priorities
- Build Canada’s housing research capacity
Why It’s Important
Jim Dunn, Chair
Dept. of Health, Aging & Society
A Message from the Project Director
Housing is both simple and complex. Safe and affordable housing enables healthy, productive and meaningful lives. That is simple. While there have been – and continue to be – many complex studies to determine just how this plays out, the people who are most familiar with this simple truth are the ones who do not have access to safe and affordable housing.
How do we ensure that everyone in Canada has a home that they can afford and that meets their needs? That is complex. The Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative is excited to help bring together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and individuals with lived experience across the country to tackle that question and the many smaller questions within it that can collectively build up an answer. What does this look like for people with disabilities? For low-income Canadians? For people new to this land and for people whose families have been here for thousands of years? What effect will specific policy choices have? What level of investment will be required and how can that investment best be targeted? The answers to these questions are all within the scope of the housing network and are all critical to achieving the goals of the National Housing Strategy.
McMaster University is a great place to host the hub of a housing research network. As a leader in interdisciplinary and community-engaged research with extensive partnerships beyond the university, much of the infrastructure for this network already exists. McMaster is consistently rated as a world-leader in health research, a reputation that includes extensive work on the social determinants of health, of which housing is one of the largest. Our close partnership with the City of Hamilton allows us to work directly with a large housing provider, who is at the forefront of the work to use interventions in housing to help address challenges in the health care system.
Everyone in Canada deserves a home that they can afford and that meets their needs. CHEC is delighted to support the research network that will provide the evidence necessary to help make this a reality.