The Right to Housing in Edmonton: What are your Rights when Renting?

The Right to Housing in Edmonton: What are your Rights when Renting?

The Affordable Housing Solution Lab (AHSL) is pleased to share our 1st activity in a series focused on the Right to Housing in Edmonton. This video is a zoom recording of a Feb. 24/21 lunch & learn panel session featuring the topic: ‘What are your rights when renting?

Invited panelists:

* Dr. Damian Collins, University of Alberta

* Sarah Eadie, Edmonton Community Legal Centre

* Roxanne Ulanicki, AHSL Fellow

* Nadine Chalifoux, AHSL Fellow

Background: Housing is universally accepted as one of our essential human needs and is the cornerstone for individual as well as community health and wellbeing. Thus, adequate housing is an essential human right and a lack of access is an affront to basic human dignity.

Despite Canada’s remarkable wealth and prosperity, according to our 2016 Census it was estimated that 4,373,555 households (~32%) struggled with one or more forms of housing need (adequacy, suitability and/or affordability)—including 50% of all tenant households (23% in core housing need, disproportionate to the 13% able to access some form of subsidized housing). Further, it is estimated that at least 235,000 individuals experience homelessness each year.

Housing instability and houselessness disproportionately impacts disenfranchised households including proportions of our Indigenous populations, households dealing with low-incomes, seniors, lone-parent families, people with disabilities, marginalized youth (many who are a part of our LGBTQ2S+ communities), newcomers and migrants. This has been especially compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as by provincial cuts (in Alberta) to income supports, AISH, rental subsidies and non-market housing programming and capital funds.

Similar to trends across Canada, in Edmonton we know that tenants are particularly vulnerable to housing inequity as 35.5% of households in the city are renters, yet within this tenure group, 50.2% are in some form of housing need and 37.7% are in core housing need (2016 Census). With this in mind, we planned this first session to focus on tenant rights in Edmonton.

Recently, the Government of Canada committed to the progressive realization of the right to adequate housing. This commitment places obligations on many different stakeholders in our housing system. It also begs the following questions we aim to explore over the coming months:

* What are we talking about when we refer to the right to adequate housing in Edmonton?

* How are these rights protected in Edmonton?

* What work remains to be done?

Sources of Interest: – The UN’s Definition of Adequate Housing https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publi…​ – CMHC’s Housing Portal, City of Edmonton https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/hmip-pi…​)

Contact: If you would like to connect with the AHSL, including sharing any ideas for future Right to Housing events, please send us an email to: houselab@ualberta.ca

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