Cross-Cutting Theme

How can community housing best support vulnerable groups?

The NHS emphasizes that all Canadians have a right to housing and prioritizes those who are most vulnerable due to disadvantage or marginalization.

The Cross-Cutting Theme research cluster is not an Area of Inquiry; rather, its role is to support and advise the preceding five cluster to ensure their research is attentive to the needs of vulnerable groups. It mirrors the structure of the NHS, where concern for vulnerable groups ‘cuts across’ all objectives and programs. 

Members of this cluster provide expertise, advocacy and skills to projects under the Areas of Inquiry.

  1. Area Leads
  2. Co-Investigators
  3. In Partnership With
  4. Publications

Area Leads

Yushu Zhu | Simon Fraser University

Dr. Zhu’s research focuses on housing and community issues against the backdrop of urbanization and globalization. She pays special attention to communities of immigrants, low-income populations, and ethnic minorities.

Meg Holden | Simon Fraser University

Dr. Holden’s research and professional work examines how cities and urbanites change in relation to demands, plans, actions, and new concepts related to sustainable development and community wellbeing.


Jaqueline Gahagan | Dalhousie University

Dr Gahagan’s specializes in evaluating policy interventions, with a focus on gender and LGBTQ issues, particularly concerning health-promotion.

Edward Hall | University of Dundee

Dr Hall specializes in disability, learning disability, social inclusion/exclusion, and belonging.

Katie MacDonald | Athabasca University

Dr MacDonald is an interdisciplinary community-engaged researcher focused on learning in encounters with difference.

Cynthia Puddu | Macewan University

Using community-based participatory research methods, Dr Puddu works closely with homeless youth in Edmonton, sharing their stories of difficulty and success.

Marianne Touchie | University of Toronto

Dr. Touchie’s research focuses on improving the energy performance and indoor environmental quality of existing buildings to make them more comfortable, healthy and sustainable through comprehensive retrofits. 

Rob Wilton | McMaster University

Dr. Wilton’s research is broadly concerned with the social geographies of exclusion. Much of his research has focused specifically on the experiences of people with disabilities.

Andy Yan | Simon Fraser University

Andy Yan is the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. Mr. Yan specializes in the fields of urban regeneration, applied demographics, Geographic Information Systems, neighborhood development, public outreach, social media and quantitative research.

Ellie Han | Simon Fraser University

Ellie’s research includes community building and social cohesion. She would like to delve into the research of housing vulnerability in the Community Housing Canada project. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Asian Area Studies from the University of British Columbia, Ellie entered the Master of Urban Studies program at Simon Fraser University to explore her passion for urban transformation and housing policies.

Community Partners


Housing Vulnerability and Well-Being in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A B.C. Survey on the Secondary Effects of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Cross-Cutting Theme Year 1 Report: Toward a Better Understanding of Housing Vulnerability

This report provides a valuable contribution to thinking further and differently about
housing vulnerability in Canada and that it stimulates many new partnerships and projects toward operationalizing Canadians’ right to housing in a way that recognizes the intersectional dimensions of housing vulnerability

Andy Yan was quoted numerous times in national or local news outlets on housing issues 
Building better with feedback loops, April 2021Hey Neighbour Collective
Building community into the bottom line, April 2021Hey Neighbour Collective
Building community into the bottom line, June 2021Michelle Hoar, Hey Neighbour Collective
Mainstreaming socially connected, affordable multi-unit housing across British Columbia – Hey Neighbour Collective, Oct 2021Hey Neighbour Collective
Who is in your emergency kit? June 2021Hey Neighbor Collective
Fostering preparedness and community in multi-unit buildingsHey Neighbor Collective
A Picture is Worth 1000 Words: A photovoice exploration into social connections at home, Dec 2021Lainey Martin and Meg Holden
Density proposal is making room, but for whom?; housing is more than just a unit count, says Andy Yan. Feb 2022Andy Yan; The Vancouver Sun
“New study reveals intensified housing inequality in Canada from 1981-2016,” The Conversation. Published on Dec. 23, 2021Yushu Zhu
Social housing in comparison: Montreal and Vancouver metropolitan areas. In S. Breux & M. Holden (eds.), Regards croisés sur les études urbaines au Québec et en Colombie-Britannique | Crossing Paths, Crossing Perspectives on Urban Studies in Quebec and British Columbia, Presses de l’Université Laval (Quebec City). Forthcoming.Yushu Zhu, Hélène Bélanger
Housing vulnerability and well-being in the COVID-19 pandemic: A B.C. survey on the secondary effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), forthcomingYushu Zhu, Meg Holden, Dorin Vaez Mahdavi, Amy Zeng, Ellie Han
How sociable is life in multi-unit rental housing? Feb 2022Ghazaleh Akbarnejad, Meg Holden, Lainey Martin, Atiya Mahmood, Meghan Winters