Housing Justice: Public Engagement, Policy Development and Legal Rights

Access to affordable, safe, and adequate housing is a hallmark of a just society. This project proposes to approach the issues surrounding housing justice with a focus particularly on Vancouver from three distinct but synergistic perspectives: civil society engagement and education; policy development; and social change litigation. The problem we seek to address is how to overcome the barriers to the development of affordable rental housing for those of very low income, and for working people of modest incomes.

In the first and second strands of this project, public engagement and policy development, we will be working with community partners to foster heightened civil society engagement with, and advocacy of, housing rights and to leverage policy change at municipal, provincial, and federal levels. A variety of communication methods are to be used, including public meetings, social media, and expert engagement.

The final strand of the project involves building support and providing academic expertise for a legal challenge to move Canadian law in the direction of recognition of a right to adequate housing in keeping with Canada’s international human rights obligations. This action will function to catalyze, to enhance, and to supplement the policy and knowledge dissemination in the civil and political arenas described above. The Housing Justice project relies on pre-existing expertise and data across a number of disciplines on housing, including community planning tools, housing statistics (both existing housing distributional data and projections of housing needs), and legal and advocacy expertise.