The community housing sector in Canada includes more than 628,000 units, provided by over 3,000 public and non-profit organizations. It faces significant challenges, including expiring operating agreements, aging housing stock, insufficient capital and limited ability to increase supply. Canada’s National Housing Strategy acknowledges these problems, however, signalling a new era in community housing centred on repair, renewal and expansion.
The Community Housing Canada research partnership’s mandate is to work with and for the community housing sector. It will create and mobilize knowledge that contributes to the sector’s sustainability and resilience. Its goal is to bolster the community housing sector’s functions and capacity to better meet the needs of Canadians.
3 Key Goals
Create and mobilize knowledge that contributes to the sustainability and resilience of the community housing sector in Canada.
Bolster the community housing sector so that it can better support Canadian households to realize their right to housing.
Identify and prioritize the needs of vulnerable Canadians.
Project scope and expected outcomes
A pathway to housing
Many Canadian households with low or modest incomes struggle to access suitable and affordable housing. Home ownership is often priced out of their reach, and private rentals can consume a significant portion of their incomes. For these households, community housing offers a much needed pathway to affordable, suitable housing. In fact, 1 in 8 Canadian households require assistance from the community housing sector to meet their housing needs.
The National Housing Strategy (NHS) has identified community housing sustainability as a priority area for action. It has positioned investment in community housing within a rights-based framework that prioritizes the needs of the most vulnerable Canadians. It has also created new programs for enhancing the resilience of community housing providers.
Increasing the sustainability of the community housing sector
Community Housing Canada is one of the 5 research programs that comprise the Collaborative Housing Research Network (CHRN). It will work to increase the community housing sector’s sustainability and resilience, in keeping with NHS priorities.
The program’s core tasks include undertaking independent research projects and engaging with community partners. This will enable the program to develop knowledge and inform policy development and practices in community housing.
Six research clusters
The Community Housing Canada program will use a decentralized research model that features 6 research clusters. These were created based on three sources: NHS priorities, knowledge generated through stakeholder consultation and relevant housing research.
Five of these clusters are areas of inquiry for the program:
- Area of Inquiry I: To foster understanding and support operationalization of a rights-based approach to community housing.
- Area of Inquiry II: To improve the environmental performance of community housing buildings.
- Area of Inquiry III: To assess the role of community housing in promoting social inclusion and economic opportunity.
- Area of Inquiry IV: To document diverse models of community housing, and evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness.
- Area of Inquiry V: To identify alternative understandings of the purpose and function of community housing and their implications for sector investment.
The final cluster is a cross-cutting theme that informs and supports those areas of inquiry:
- Cross-cutting Theme: To ensure the research is attentive to the needs of vulnerable Canadians.
Building a common understanding of community housing resilience and sustainability
The partnership’s reports and other products will be made available to the public through its website. They also will be shared with policy-makers and academic audiences. This will contribute to a common understanding of what is involved in community housing resilience and sustainability. It also will help build a consensus on how the sector can help realize Canadian’s right to housing.
Program Partner: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Program Director: Damian Collins, University of Alberta
Location: University of Alberta
Get More Information:
Check the CHEC website for more information.