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People, Places, Policies, Prospects

Community Housing  Canada

at home in the horth
People, Places, Policies, Prospects

Balanced Supply of Housing

aging in the right place

People, Places, Policies, Prospects

Principal Investigator

Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid, Cape Breton University

How do programs designed to make housing more affordable make a difference in the lives of the low-income Canadians who participate in them? We bring together a team of nationally- and internationally-recognized researchers from disciplines including housing studies, gender studies, sociology, social policy, community health and epidemiology, and community economic development, as well as community organizations involved in housing and poverty reduction, and two municipalities.

The context of our study is this: currently, a range of programs help low-income Canadians with housing affordability, and many of these will be strengthened through the National Housing Strategy. These programs include rent-geared-to-income (RGI) stock (such as public housing) and rent supplements (which are provided directly to landlords to help bridge the gap between 30% of income and shelter costs). Housing allowances are a third example, which are similar to supplements, although financial assistance is provided directly to tenants so they can live in market or community housing.

In the National Housing Strategy, programs like these are stated to result in positive social and economic benefits (also called outcomes) for those who receive them. The problem, however, is that the benefits that tenants may, in fact, experience as a result of receiving such assistance have received little attention in Canada. In addition, we do not understand how different programs (e.g., RGI units, rent supplements, housing allowances) may result in distinctive outcomes. This is surprising, especially since policy development is increasingly based on evidence. It is precisely this gap our team intends to fill as one of the research nodes within the Collaborative Housing Research Network.