Advancing social class diversity in Canadian universities


Homeless by Degrees: A national Canadian research project on higher education student homelessness

Presented at the Canadian Alliance to End Homeless conference 2023

Room 604, Summit level

Tuesday, Nov 8, 2023


Learning Objective:

To discover and develop concrete, non-traditional housing solutions to address the post-secondary student housing crisis and prevent student homelessness

Presentation Description

It’s estimated that 110,000+ post-secondary students are homeless daily in Canada. These experiences are often invisible and excluded in PiT Counts and core housing need statistics. Too often, attending post-secondary can mean shifting into, back into, or remaining homeless. Homelessness impacts educational outcomes and the health of PWLE and those who are pushed into lived/living experience.   This moderated session brings together people with lived/living experience (PWLE) of student homelessness to share their expertise. Attendees will have the opportunity to workshop concrete solutions to address the escalating student housing and homelessness crisis and prevent students being homeless by degrees.

Session Facilitator

Cynthia Belaskie

Managing Director, Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative

Session Organizers

Elaine J Laberge, Lived Experience Expert, PhD is the founder and director of the Shoestring Initiative, the first-of-its-kind grassroots movement creating communities of mentorship, belonging, support, intercultural connectedness and advocacy for Canadian university students from a poverty-class heritage. She addresses poverty (“social condition”) discrimination in Canada.

Elaine is in the process of getting funding to conduct the national research project titled “Homeless by Degrees” which will look at how the housing crisis is impacting higher education students from an intersectional lens in four cities in Canada.

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Brittany Cormier, Lived Experience Expert, Master’s Student. Brittany is a master’s student (SMU), qualitative/mixed methods researcher, and abstract painter located in Charlottetown, PEI. She holds a first-class standing BA in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI). Through her research she explores hidden and at-risk forms of homelessness, evictions and housing discrimination experienced by tenants. As a Research Fellow (2023-24) with the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR), she is the primary investigator on a project examining discrimination in rental applications and advertisements. Her recent work experience spans program evaluation, research, policy and housing program delivery/administration. 

Saint Mary’s University

Canadian Centre for Housing Rights

Jes Annan, Lived Experience Expert, MA. Jes is a community-based sociological researcher, whose research areas include homelessness, hostile architecture, Black liberation and Indigenous health equity. She currently works as a research coordinator and associate at the Cumming School of Medicine of the University of Calgary.

Ashley Ward, Lived Experience Expert, PhD; Making the Shift Youth Social Innovation Lab

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