Actions for Housing Now

Seven Policy Mandates. One Unifying Leverage Point.

Safe, sustainable, adequate housing is fundamental to individual and community well-being.  It’s a key factor in addressing issues of physical and mental heath, climate and the environment, immigration and settlement, Indigenous rights, the economy, and justice

This full-day ‘Actions for Housing Now’ event, held at Carleton University’s 1125@Carleton in February 2016, brought together a diverse group of 70+ creative minds from various social sectors for the day, to explore opportunities to achieve outcomes on a range of issues around affordable and social housing for Canadians. We asked participants: How could the affordable housing system help advance solutions to the social issues you are working to change?

We know housing problems aren’t new. Many processes and research reports have identified potential solutions, and strong leadership does exist. Now is the time to continue to build on the collaborative, multi-sectoral knowledge that exists, in order to seek catalyst points where a national response is warranted. From there, together we can then identify new potential partnerships, linkages, solutions and implementation strategies while asking: How can this policy change be advanced? Who can champion it, to whom, and how?

The event brought together leadership from Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and beyond, and builds on the work of the Tyee Solutions Society’s year-long reporting on affordable housing found at The Housing Fix. Participants came from a diversity of fields including Aboriginal affairs, settlement and immigration, environment, health and mental health, infrastructure, social and economic development, justice, seniors, women, families, youth, and real estate. Discussions were held under Chatham House Rule, whereby participants were free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of speaker(s) was revealed.  

What Took Place?:

Seven discussion tables convened to explore the link between their topic and housing, and focused on:

  • How housing might help to move the agenda in question forward;
  • What opportunities exist within the identified policy priorities and mandates of the Federal government;
  • What outcomes do we want to see;
  • Potential challenges and barriers to moving outcomes forward;
  • Who would need to be involved and;
  • How might we coordinate this effort? 

The seven discussion tables focused on: Social Finance; Immigration & Refugees; Infrastructure; Health, Mental Health & Addictions; Aboriginal Issues; Women, Seniors, Families & Youth; Economic and Social Development.

The day’s events unfolded with an opening panel on Furthering Canada's Policy Objectives Through Affordable Housing. The first roundtable of the day looked at Agenda Setting: Exploring Opportunities to Translate Federal Mandates in Outcomes, followed by a debrief on Emerging Themes and Promising Ideas and a Mini Lobby Boot Camp. A second round of discussions focused on Targeted Actions: Applying Policy Change Principles to Advancing Housing & Related Issues, and ended with a Sounding Board: Framing the Solution and Approach, who provided feedback on the effectiveness and framing of each groups ‘asks’.

Outcomes & Resources:

A Report of Proceedings has been prepared to gather the salient points from the roundtables and debriefs. This report provides one-page summaries on the links, as discussed at the event, between housing and each of the seven different policy areas explored.

Report: ACTIONS FOR HOUSING NOW: Seven Policy Mandates. One Unifying Leverage Point.

You will also find a resource detailing Federal mandate priorities as related to housing: Where Does Housing Intersect with Federal Mandate Deliverables?; and presentation notes on the Mini Lobby Boot Camp.

The Ottawa event was also featured in the article “At Ottawa Forum, Housing Sector Readies for Feds’ Next Moves”.

The Ottawa Actions For Housing Now event was preceded by a similar event in Vancouver on November 2nd, 2015, Actions for Housing Now: Creating Affordable, Suitable, and Secure Housing in Canadian Cities. Tyee Solutions Society’s reflections on the Vancouver event can be accessed here

‘Actions for Housing Now’ was sponsored by Tyee Solutions Society in cooperation with the Canadian Housing & Renewal Association, Carleton School of Public Policy, Carleton University Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE), Carleton School of Journalism & Communication, the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness, Broadening the Base, and The Tyee.                                             



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