Housing & homelessness advocates and lived experts from across Canada deliver 15 calls to action to the Federal Housing Minister, outlining & demanding solutions to the gendered housing crisis
Although Canada’s housing crisis makes headlines on an almost daily basis – data shows that households led by women and gender-diverse people are the hardest hit yet most under-served. That is why an intersectional, nation-wide coalition of feminist advocates have joined together to deliver a clear call to action to the Government of Canada.
During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence that culminates on Human Rights Day this December 10, advocates, lived experts, and organizations have come together to demand that the Government of Canada address the gendered aspect of the housing and homelessness crisis. The group comprising over a dozen individual and organizational representatives has identified 15 calls to action for the government to implement called An Intersectional Feminist Housing Agenda for Canada: A Briefing Guide for Canada’s Housing Minister.
The Calls to Action range from targeted investments in housing, scaling solutions to the level of need, to taking meaningful steps that will realize the right to housing for this often under-served and marginalized population of women, gender-diverse, children, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.
“If we really want to make a significant change to end gender-based violence and abuse, housing is the answer. Housing represents safety for women, gender-diverse people and their families. No one can escape or avoid violence without a safe place to call home,” said Sarah McIntosh, Executive Director with Atira Women’s Resource Society.
Endorse the Intersectional Feminist Housing Agenda for Canada
Recently, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing proclaimed that, “Everyone in Canada deserves a home. And if someone can’t afford a home, they should be given one,” at the 2023 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. We couldn’t agree more. Yet the status quo of the National Housing Strategy and the prevailing gender neutrality within current housing policies will not deliver on that sentiment – not unless necessary funding commitments and policy changes happen, as outlined in the Intersectional Feminist Housing Agenda.
“The reality is, the Government of Canada is currently not on track to meet its own goals to address housing precarity or homelessness among women and gender-diverse people,” says Khulud Baig, Director of Policy & Community Engagement with the Women’s National Housing & Homelessness Network . “And the problem will only get worse if the government fails to heed our calls to action.”
Even as billions of dollars are being invested by governments and the private sector to increase housing supply, households led by women and gender-diverse people continue to be disproportionately impacted by unmet housing needs. The system also does not track or measure whether or not these investments are actually reaching this population.
The coalition is demanding action to address the inequities in access to safe, affordable, appropriate housing for women, children, and gender-diverse people in all communities across Canada.
We will be looking for commitments that deliver on our calls to action:
- Updates to the National Housing Strategy to reflect the voices, perspectives and calls to action from women and gender-diverse people with lived expertise of the housing crisis.
- Investments that ensure the needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women and gender-diverse people are specifically addressed in new housing and housing strategies.
- Prioritize capital and infrastructure funding for housing that supports the needs of women, their children and gender-diverse people.
- Flexible, sustained, predictable and adequate operating funding for housing agencies serving the needs of women, their children and gender-diverse people.
- Deliver a Universal Basic Income that reflects different regions’ needs.
Key Facts & Background
- 9,078 women and girls in Canada experience homelessness on any given day.
- Nearly 1,000 women and their children are turned away from Violence Against Women shelters on an average day. Most will return to situations of violence and precarity because of it.
- 90% of families using emergency shelters are headed by single women.
- 43% of gender-diverse people reported experiencing discrimination from their landlords and/or property managers on the basis of gender.
- Research has shown that housing remains one of the leading barriers for women escaping violence and that domestic violence is one of the main causes of homelessness among Canadian families.
- Women’s homelessness is vastly underestimated and often hidden. Women are often among the “invisible homeless”, over-represented in shelters and transition houses.
- The coalition includes the Women’s National Housing & Network, the Pan-Canadian Voice for Women’s Housing, and many advocates, lived experts, and sector leaders
- The Accessible Housing Network
- Social Housing and Human Rights
- Canadian Women’s Foundation
- Canadian Housing & Renewal Association
- Canadian Housing & Renewal Association on behalf of the Indigenous Caucus Working Group
- YWCA Canada
- Provincial Women of Council of B.C.
- Vancouver Council of Women
- Canadian Centre for Housing Rights
- National Right to Housing Network
- Ending Violence Association of British Columbia
- Stella’s Circle
- Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA-AFAI)
- Front d’action populaire en réaménagement urbain
- Citizens for Public Justice
- BC Poverty Reduction Coalition
- The Housing Justice Project
- Women Transforming Cities
- Mickilus Belcourt, Métis Nation of Ontario, 2S Council, Region 7 Representative
- Georgian Bay Métis Council
- Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
- Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
- Women’s Network PEI
- Edmonton 2 Spirit Society
- PEI Transgender Network
- Senior Women Living Together
- YWCA Toronto
- Canadian Federation of University Women
- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
- Battered Women’s Support Services Association
- Aboriginal Housing Management Association
- E Fry Hope and Help for Women, Peel-Halton
- Gillian’s Place
- Birchway Niagara
- Ending Violence Association of Canada
- Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network
- Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
- Women’s Centre Calgary
- Manitoba Research Alliance
- Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment
- West Central Women’s Resource Centre
- Woman Abuse Council of Toronto
- Actions Femmes ÎPÉ (AFIPE)
- YWCA Niagara Region
- West Coast LEAF
- University of Winnipeg: Department of Urban and Inner City Studies
- Yukon Status of Women Council
- Poverty Free Thunder Bay
- All Our Sisters
- Westminster Housing Society
- Peel Alliance to End Homelessness and Peel Poverty Action Group
- Indigenous Harm Reduction Network
- WILPF Canada
- Street Level Women at Risk
- Birth Mark Support
- The Rural Development Network
- The National Alliance for Children & Youth
- Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network
- YWCA Cambridge