CPJ & Faith Partners Stand Up for the Right to Housing

By Citizens for Public Justice

One of the ways CPJ is continuing our advocacy for the right to housing is by making a submission to the National Housing Council’s review of “the Financialization of Purpose-Built Rental Housing.” 

The Federal Housing Advocate called for the review and will look at “the growing dominance of financial actors in the housing sector, which is transforming the main function of housing from a place to live into a financial asset and a tool for investor profits.” 

While there are many underlying causes for our severe lack of affordable housing in Canada, this review panel will be looking specifically at whether (or how) the financialization of rental housing, in particular, violates the right to housing and what the federal government should do about it.

Financialization” is a phenomenon that is driving up housing prices and resulting in increasing rates of evictions, homelessness, and core housing need across the country, particularly for renters. It has also been shown to disproportionately impact people who are racialized; people with low-income; and people with low-wage, precarious work. Properties and whole communities inhabited by these groups are specifically targeted by investment companies and corporate landlords who buy them at lower prices and then drastically increase rents, often evicting existing tenants.

In addition to providing policy research and analysis, CPJ’s submission also includes examples from four faith communities in Canada about what this looks like in their neighbourhoods. 

The submission was also endorsed by the following churches and faith communities:

  • Canadian Poverty Institute
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
  • Le Centre Oblat: A Voice for Justice
  • The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda Territory
  • The Dale Ministries, Parkdale, Toronto, ON
  • Davenport Perth Community Ministry, Toronto, ON
  • Citygate Vancouver, Vancouver, BC
  • FACE of Poverty, Halifax, NS
  • Dr. Barry Rieder, Jane Finch Community Ministry, Toronto, ON, United Church of Canada
  • Major Juan Burry, The Salvation Army Booth Centre, St. Catharines, ON
  • Stella Lord, Member of the Congregation, Cathedral Church of All Saints Halifax, NS

Together, we are sending a message that faith communities across Canada are an active, engaged constituency that supports the right to housing.

Our recommendations were selected in solidarity with several housing and human rights research and advocacy partners, including those led by people with lived experience of housing insecurity and homelessness. In particular, CPJ wishes to thank ACORN Canada, Dr. Nemoy Lewis, Steve Pomoroy, the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network, and the National Right to Housing Network for their research and contributions to the progressive realization of the right to housing in Canada.

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