About this Award-Winning Research
This is a comprehensive study on rental housing stock and tenant experiences in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM). This research focuses on persons at risk of homelessness, including single person households and young adults. The survey results showed who was experiencing housing insecurity, how many and why. The data process used to obtain this high quality data has been used in similar sized communities in Canada.
Most people experiencing homelessness were adults of working age without partners or dependents.
Most non-profit housing and all public housing is for either seniors or families, and that market-based property owners often seek to attract seniors and professionals. There are few accessible rental units. Such units cost more to rent and are less likely to be vacant.
One- and two-bedroom units on the sizable secondary market have higher rents, even though this market is considered a hidden source of affordable housing. It accounts for over 40% of the local rental market, but it’s not tracked.
How was the research conducted?
Dr. Leviten-Reid – associate professor of community economic development at Cape Breton University – led the research team. She used a cross-sectional design and collected data using surveys.
The team reached out to property owners and tenants of all housing types. Meaning public, non-profit, market-based rentals in the primary and secondary markets and rooming houses all contributed to the survey data.
The community-based research team also involved the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Working Group (AHHWG) and the Cape Breton Community Housing Association at regular meetings. The AHHWG is a local, multi-sectoral group working on the interrelated issues of affordable housing and homelessness.
How will this research help?
This research helps to identify the following gaps:
- the secondary market from the rental housing market in centres that are not census metropolitan areas
- data on the accessibility and utility costs of rental housing
This research contributed to
- Housing Nova Scotia and the Department of Community Services joining meetings of the AHHWG
- the development of an affordable housing strategy for CBRM
This research also identified a lack of affordable housing infrastructure for single people of working age.The project contributes to an under-represented geography in the housing literature: communities in a non-metropolitan area.
Using the data collected on the rental housing stock, Dr. Leviten-Reid and her team are looking at the location of more affordable market rental units. They are determining how their location relates of affordable housing, neighbourhood poverty levels, and important amenities and services.
Project Team: Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid
Award received: 2018 Gold Roof Award for Housing Research Excellence
Location: Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM)
Project Collaborators / Partners:
Cape Breton Community Housing Association, Public Health, Cape Breton regional Police Service, CBU, Every Woman’s Centre and The Community Advisory Board on Homelessness