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Housing for All? What is Wrong with Canada’s Housing System? with Professor David Hulchanski

November 17 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Hart House Alumni-Student Virtual Dinner: “Housing for All? What is Wrong with Canada’s Housing System?” with Dr. David Hulchanski

We have had a steady stream of federal housing programs since 1935. We now have a ten-year $80 billion National Housing Strategy (well, actually, we have a document with that title). Housing issues were widely debated in the recent federal election. Yet, after all this time and effort, who is happy with the way our housing system functions and the outcomes it is producing? Is access to homeownership becoming easier? Is the supply of rental housing at fair rents adequate? Is the number of unhoused Canadians steadily decreasing?

A housing system must be built on the assumption that adequate housing for all at a reasonable cost is essentially social, physical, and economic infrastructure for a nation. A good housing system needs to ensure:

  1. An adequate supply of new housing and the renewal of existing housing
  2. A mix of housing choices (types, tenures, locations) to meet the diverse needs of all households
  3. Adequate financial assistance for households who cannot afford to house appropriate to their needs.

Canada has generally succeeded at the first but continually fails at the second and third. Why? And what can be done about this?

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About the speaker

David Hulchanski is a professor of housing and community development at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, where he holds the endowed chair in housing. He served as the director of the Centre for Urban and Community Studies from 2000 to 2008. In the 1980’s he was a professor of community planning and housing at the University of British Columbia and director of the UBC Centre for Human Settlements. He is a former North American editor of the journal Housing Studies. At the UofT, he teaches courses on social housing and homelessness, cities and neighbourhood change, and community development. In 2013 professor Hulchanski received the University of Toronto’s Carolyn Touhy Impact on Public Policy Award.

Professor Hulchanski’s research is focused on housing policy, homelessness, neighbourhoods, and community development. Most recently he is the principal investigator of the SSHRC-funded Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership, focused on neighbourhoods and socio-spatial income inequality and polarization trends in Canadian cities with international comparisons. A key summary report about Toronto from that project is The Three Cities in Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto’s Neighbourhoods.


November 17
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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