While Community Housing Canada’s focus is on the Canadian sector, we draw upon expertise from the international community.

Our Team

Tom Baker | Co-Investigator | Areas 4 & 5, University of Auckland

Dr Baker’s research focuses on how public policies are made and implemented. Specifically, on policies and practices related to homelessness, housing, social security, and drug treatment.

Laura Bates | PhD Candidate, University of Alberta

Erika Cizek | Master’s Student | Area 1, University of Alberta

“After completing my BA in Geography at Carleton University where I undertook an undergraduate thesis focusing on housing affordability in rural Ottawa, I am looking forward to further pursuing my interest in the growing need for affordable housing solutions in rural Canada. I spent much of my childhood and adolescence in the Kootenays, where I have seen many families and individuals forced to move elsewhere due to a lack of rental housing. Through my research, I hope to contribute to the housing debate in my community and help make it accessible to those who wish to build their lives in this stunning natural landscape.”

Damian Collins | Director & Area 1 Lead, University of Alberta

Damian’s research takes a rights-based approach to exploring public aspects of contemporary social life – specifically public policies, public services and public spaces. He will lead his team in researching the role community housing plays in helping Canadians realize housing as a human right.

Aoife Campbell-Franks | PhD Candidate | University of Dundee

“This research is a comparative project between the UK and Canada. My research aims to use the disruptions and new ways of thinking caused by the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink and improve the provision of social housing for people with disabilities. The project also aims to highlight the importance of formal and informal networks involved in supporting and making possible independent living and inclusion in communities. “Growing up with a mother who is physically impaired and a brother with autism I have been conscious of the discriminatory and exclusionary barriers that disabled people face, which is why I am particularly interested in this branch of research. I am passionate about making the experience of social housing more inclusive and I am excited about using co-productive methodologies (working in collaboration with disabled people and social housing providers) in my project to achieve this. I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Community Housing Canada and hope that a comparative approach will provide positive improvements for both nations.”

Runa Das | Area 2 Lead, Royal Roads University

An interdisciplinary sustainability scholar, Dr Das’ work centres on energy use, energy justice and environmental behaviour. Her work is motivated by real world issues such as climate change and sustainability. In particular, her interdisciplinary research explores the assessment and practice of environmental and social sustainability with a specific focus on energy-related issues.

Esther DeVos | Research Broker, Civida

A key tenet of our partnership is to bridge the gap between academic research and the work of the community housing sector. The role of Research Broker is designed to promote communication and knowledge mobilization between community housing partners and academic partners. Esther joined Capital Region Housing in 2015. She is passionate about increasing knowledge about the affordable housing sector in Canada. She has an MPA (Masters of Public Administration) from the University of Victoria, and a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta. Currently working on her doctorate in social sciences from Royal Roads University, Esther’s research interests include how wellbeing, intersectionality and social sustainability can be operationalized within the affordable housing sector. /p>

Jim Dunn | Co-Investigator | Areas 1 and 3, McMaster University

Dr Dunn is an expert in the relationship between neighbourhoods, housing and health. His work investigates the impact of housing and neighbourhood interventions on healthy child development. /p>

Imad Dweik | PhD Candidate | Area 3, University of New Brunswick

I will be studying the prevalence of depressive and anxious symptomatology among households in the New Brunswick on the public housing waiting list and its association with self-reported income, assuming they are all low-income. From my perspective: There is a significant inverse relationship between anxiety and depressive symptomology and income in this group. The findings will be benefit governments and policymakers who are in charge of advocating and shaping policy on housing, income, and mental health. The literature would benefit from a natural experiment study design that can isolate the impact of an intervention better than standard regression techniques. This study will also have implications for other jurisdictions/countries that also experience relative income inequality and experience demographic changes similar to those that have already happened in New Brunswick (e.g., ageing population and high rate of childhood poverty, etc.). The health realities of low-income populations in New Brunswick are not well understood, and mental health outcomes associated with access to stable tenancies through affordable housing programs are yet to be explored. This research project will be the first to search the impact of housing subsidies and the public affordable housing system on anxiety and depression in New Brunswick. My work experience in different sectors taught me that health is just a feature of many factors surrounding us; the pervasive socioeconomic determinants ( housing, poverty, employment, educational level, income…etc.). In addition, my interdisciplinary qualifications in the medical field, public health, and epidemiology combined provide me with the skills and knowledge to conduct this transdisciplinary research..

Shabnam Edalatnia

This research will be conducted on building energy retrofit strategies in community housing in Victoria, with a particular focus on a holistic assessment of costs and benefits of sustainable technologies. The objective of this study is to identify sustainable technologies for energy retrofitting of Victoria community housings and develop holistic approaches for analyzing the economic, environmental, and social impact of these technologies from the perspective of different stakeholders. This study would also provide recommendations on how best to implement retrofit measures in partnership with tenants and develop strategies to guarantee success of these approaches. I was born and raised in Iran, where I completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees in geology. My Master’s centered significantly on environmental issues specifically challenges resulted from fossil fuels, which led me to explore the environmental, economic, and social impacts of petroleum exploration throughout my thesis. I also have a variety of research related to the effects of the sustainable energy sector on the economy and society in Iran, which inspired my interest in the concept of energy retrofit and motivated me to continue my research in this area. Taking part in community housing energy retrofit study gives me the opportunity to learn about the challenges and gaps in this sector and to think more deeply about the concept of social sustainability. I hope the outcome will result in more comfortable and energy-efficient community housing across Canada.

Joshua Evans | Area 5 Lead, University of Alberta.

Dr. Evans brings expertise in social marginalization and spaces of policy development and implementation. His work has examined (a) spaces of care, home, and work and their role in shaping the lived experiences of socially marginalized and vulnerable individuals, and (b) spaces of policy development and implementation and their role in the creation of healthy, enabling and equitable urban environments. /p>

Jacqueline Gahagan | Co-Investigator | Areas 1 & Cross Cutting Theme, Dalhousie University

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

Cait Grogan | Master’s Student | Area 3, University of New Brunswick

Caitlin’s research area focuses on fostering social inclusion through housing for individuals with disabilities, as part of Area of Inquiry III in the Community Housing Canada project. Caitlin is focusing on creative supported living arrangements that aim to enhance social inclusion. Caitlin completed her undergraduate honours at UNB, completing her thesis on the mental health impacts of housing displacement. She now works for the Laboratory for Housing and Mental Health at UNB where she is completing her graduate studies. Caitlin looks forward to bringing her knowledge on social inclusion, and learning from other experts in Area of Inquiry III.

Edward Hall | Co-Investigator | Areas 1 & Cross Cutting Theme , University of Dundee

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

Piao (Ellie) Han | Master’s Student | Areas 1 & Cross Cutting Theme, 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. Previously, Ellie worked as a Research Assistant at UBC for a comparative research project that looks at neighborhood transformation, built environment, and quality of life in Canada and China. She looks forward to engaging in urban policy research and contributing her knowledge to building sustainable and inclusive communities.

Meg Holden | Area Lead | Cross-Cutting Theme, 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.

Robbi Humble | Master’s Student | Area 2, Royal Roads, Treaty 4/Regina

Robbi’s research interests focus on the socio-cultural processes needed for equitable sustainability transitions. Supported by the Community Housing Canada research partnership, Robbi’s MA research will explore how community housing stakeholders are shaping future housing and energy pathways through their decisions about the community housing building stock.

Steve Kim | Former Master’s Student,
Simon Fraser University
Kenna McDowell | Master’s Student | Area 1, University of Alberta

Katie MacDonald | Co-Investigator | Areas 1, 3, and Cross Cutting Theme, Athabasca University

Dr MacDonald’s focus is interdisciplinary community-engaged research focused on learning in encounters with difference. In particular, she is interested in understandings of relational poverty and has looked at sites on the global and local scales

Larry Murphy | Co-Investigator | Areas 4 and 5, University of Auckland

Dr Murphy has published widely on property topics including: homeownership, social rental housing, mortgage securitisation, office development, the institutional evolution of listed property trusts, finance capital and entrepreneurial urban governance.

Sabine O’Donnel | Master’s Student | Area 3, McMaster University

André-Anne Parent | Co-Investigator | Areas 3 & 4, University of Montreal

Dr. Parent is an expert in social inequalities and public policy analysis. 

Cynthia Puddu | Co-Investigator | Area 1 & Cross-Cutting Theme, MacEwan University

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

Chloé Reiser | Postdoctoral Fellow
University of New Brunswick
Chloé Reiser | Post-Doctoral Fellow, Areas 1 and 3 | University of New Brunswick

“ Chloé Reiser, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of New-Brunswick, Areas 1 and 3 “Dr. Reiser’s research in social and urban geography investigates the impacts of public policies and housing market transformations on vulnerable migrants’ residential trajectories. As part of the Area of Inquiry 3, her research will be focused on social inclusion in community housing with an emphasis on multicultural and newcomer communities.” “I really appreciate that research at Community Housing Canada is conducted in partnership with community housing groups. During my PhD, I too volunteered with tenants’ rights organizations in Montreal and organized many activities in co-ops and nonprofits housing, which gave me a better understanding of the real housing issues experienced by immigrant families and strengthened my commitment to the Right to Housing and the Rights of Migrants.”

Russell Richman | Co-Investigator | Areas 2 & 4, Ryerson University

Dr. Richman is a civil engineer and building scientist with a private consulting practice. His building science research focuses on improving energy efficiency.

Rebecca Schiff | Area 4 Lead, Lakehead University

Dr. Schiff’s research investigates community health and social issues for marginalized communities across diverse urban, rural, and remote geographies. This includes a focus on determinants of community wellbeing, social service systems, and social aspects of sustainability, with an emphasis on community – engaged methodologies, community co – generation of knowledge, and integrated knowledge translation

Rob Shields | Co-Investigator | Areas 1 & 5, University of Alberta

Dr Shields holds a Henry Marshall Tory Chair and is a leading theorist of the materialities and cultures of urban space. 

Mandeep Sidhu | Master’s Student | Area 4, Lakehead University


Bon Swanson | Project Coordinator, University of Alberta

A recent graduate of the University of Alberta, Bon holds a BA in Human Geography and has been with Community Housing Canada since 2019.

Marianne Touchie | Co-Investigator | Area 1 & Cross-Cutting Theme, 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.

Pablo A. Wikander | PhD Student | Areas 1 and 5, University of Alberta

My research focuses on the role of community housing in fulfilling the right to adequate housing for newcomers to Canada. The study is divided into three sections corresponding to Federal, Provincial-Municipal, and Neighbourhood scales to assess the housing regimes and Canadian refugee policy, housing and urban Imaginaries of refugees, and the right to housing and housing needs of refugees in Edmonton respectively.

My background is in Architecture and Urban Design, and I have previously worked with communities in Venezuela bringing ideas from the community into urban form. I hope to contribute to the project by understanding the imaginaries and housing needs of refugees in Edmonton to develop plans and designs that can fulfill the right to adequate community housing for refugees. Working with a multi-disciplinary team is an enriching and challenging experience at the same time. Therefore, I wish to contribute to the project from my perspective and learn from the experience of my colleagues.

Ashley Wilkinson | Research Coordinator (Area 4) and PhD student | Area 4, Lakehead University

Under supervision of Dr Schiff, Ashley supports the research supports activities of Area 4. Dr Schiff’s research investigates community health and social issues for marginalized communities across diverse urban, rural, and remote geographies. This includes a focus on determinants of community wellbeing, social service systems, and social aspects of sustainability, with an emphasis on community – engaged methodologies, community co-generation of knowledge, and integrated knowledge translation”

Ashley completed her BSc (Honours) in Medical Sciences at Brock University in 2019 and is a recent MHSc graduate in Health Sciences at Lakehead University under the supervision of Dr. Rebecca Schiff. Her research interests centre on health equity and the health of Indigenous communities, particularly experiences within the healthcare system and health service pathways. Her thesis research examined barriers to culturally safe care for Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Māori of Aotearoa/New Zealand through key informant interviews.

Rob Wilton | Area 3 & Cross-Cutting Theme, 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.

Julia Woodhall-Melnik | Area 3 Lead, University of New Brunswick

Dr. Woodhall-Melnik’s research experience centres on exploring employment and housing as social determinants of physical and mental health, addiction and concurrent disorders. Her work investigates the effectiveness of publicly funded rehousing and housing loss prevention interventions on health and housing outcomes, employment and income.

Andy Yan | Co-Investigator | Cross-Cutting Theme, 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.

Yushu Zhu | Cross-Cutting Theme Lead, 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.

In Partnership With