This website serves as a record for the Housing Justice Project, which reaches completion in Spring 2015.  The crisis of housing affordability across Canada, and in Vancouver in particular, is well known.  The city of Vancouver was ranked in 2011 as the second worst in the world for homeownership affordability, and its rental vacancy rates are among the lowest in Canada. This crisis is complex and results from many factors, including: a rise in housing costs, a lack of appropriate government policy, too few new low-income rental units built, low rental vacancy rates, urban population growth, and income growth that has not kept pace with the cost of living.
Housing justice is the fair and just distribution of housing benefits in society. Access to affordable, safe and adequate housing is key to an individual’s inclusion in the full rights and benefits of citizenship.

 

THREE APPROACHES

The Housing Justice Project approaches the housing affordability issues from three distinct but synergistic perspectives:

  1. Civil society engagement and education
  2. Policy development
  3. Social change litigation

In the first and second approaches to housing justice, we fostered civil society engagement by informing Vancouverites about housing issues and hosting forums on critical affordable housing priorities.  We developed policy initiatives in conjunction with various community partners, and worked with them to leverage policy change at all levels of government.  Our policy reports can be found under Our Research.

The third approach involves building support and providing academic expertise for a legal challenge to move Canadian law to recognize a right to adequate housing, in keeping with Canada’s international human rights obligations.  We hope to make legal action one part of a broader social change strategy, from which more public engagement can be leveraged to encourage stronger responses to housing issues.

 

PROJECT OUTCOMES

The outcome of the project is a greater awareness of effective models for the provision of affordable housing. Informed community members can be effective advocates for furthering proposed changes. More specifically, the following three benchmarks are relevant:

  1. Policy change
  2. Education and outreach
  3. Community advocacy

 

Download a two-pager summary of the project here.