This week’s show is about affordable housing and homelessness in Ontario, the GTA, and across the country.
The nation is currently in a housing crisis as the housing market lacks supply of social and affordable housing. The costs of living in cities across Canada for shelter and basic necessities is steady increasing. Additionally, incomes and social mobility for low and middle-income Canadians have been stagnant or declining, creating a severe affordability squeeze.
While these issues persist, it becomes crucial to address social housing issues and homelessness across Canada. The guests on this episode each give their take on how they are working to address the crisis in affordable housing and homelessness. This work includes the National Housing Strategy to be unveiled by the federal government, research into youth homelessness, and lastly community building within low-income communities in Toronto and across the province.
To help us tackle the questions of housing and homelessness we are joined by Jeff Morrison, Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, Mike Bulthius, Director of the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab co-led by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada and Curran Stikuts, Community Organizer for the 519 Community Centre in Toronto.
Curran Stikuts is a community organizer for the 519 Community Centre in Toronto. Curran has represented the 519 on various committees and working groups, including Toronto Police Service’s LGBTQ Community Consultative Committee, Parks, Forestry and Recreation’s Facilities Master Plan advisory group, and neighborhood-based associations. The 519 is a City of Toronto agency with an innovative model of Service, Space and Leadership, striving to make a real difference in people’s lives, while working to promote inclusion, understanding, and respect especially in regard of the LGBTQ community. Curran has worked as a key member of the Moss Park project, a community center that the 519 is establishing as part of the redevelopment of one of Toronto’s low- income neighborhoods in the Downtown-East. Curran has also held various consultations with community stakeholders, networks, and social service agencies to best identify the needs of the Moss Park community.
“Most important is to create adaptive spaces and create programming that responds to the needs of the community” – Curran Stikuts, community organizer for the 519 Community Centre
Jeff Morrison is the Director of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association. CHRA undertakes research, develops policy, makes recommendations and advocates on behalf of its members to compel decision-makers to make the kinds of choices that will lead us to a future where all Canadians can access and afford the type of housing they need. Before joining CHRA, Jeff was Associate Director, Federal Affairs with Glaxo SmithKline, and before then, served as Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs with the Canadian Pharmacists Association for five years. In this role, he was responsible for advocacy, stakeholder relations, policy development, media relations, and external communication for the association. Jeff has held many other senior positions in the nonprofit world, including President of the Association of Canadian Engineering Companies and Director of Government Relations and Director of Environment for the Canadian Construction Association. Jeff has also worked for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, and several Members of Parliament in the 1990s.
“Need to put in a place a subsidy so that housing units are provided at below-market rent so that they’re accessible” – Executive Director CHRA Jeff Morrison
Jeff, who is bilingual, holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and History and a Masters of Arts in science politique canadienne from the University of Ottawa. He is very active in the Ottawa community, serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Centretown Community Health Centre for two years. In 2014, he ran for Ottawa City Council in Somerset ward, finishing 2nd out of 11 candidates. He currently also sits on the Board of Directors of Operation Come Home and Bruce House.
Mike Bulthuis is the Director of the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab – an initiative co-led by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada. Launched in April 2017, the goal of the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab is to identify ways to ensure that all young people have housing stability, as well as family and other supports to stay in school or to access training and employment, to enable healthy pathways to adulthood. Previous to this, Mike was the Executive Director of the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, working with communities to generate ideas and solutions to help end homelessness in Ottawa. Earlier, Mike served in the federal government, in Policy development with Infrastructure Canada and with the National Homelessness Secretariat at ESDC.
“Looking at the pathways that we know have worked and listening to what the youth is telling us helps us address these issues”- Mike Bulthuis, Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab Director
His background includes a Bachelors degree in Political Science and International Development at Dalhousie University, a Masters degree in Political Science from Carleton University and further graduate studies in urban and social geography at the University of Ottawa.
Katerina Kalenteridis, Host, Technical Producer, Senior Producer
Leanna Mora, Technical Producer, Executive Producer
Ian T. D. Thomson, Technical Producer
Majenta Braumberger, Technical Producer
Pam Abeysekara, Technical Producer
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