Survey Results: COVID-19, housing and homelessness

May 7, 2020

Over the past month we’ve monitored, connected and shown solidarity for National Right to Housing Network (NRHN) partners across the country who are rallying together on critical right to housing issues. While some levels of government are rapidly responding to advocacy efforts, the COVID-19 health crisis has laid bare the stark inequalities of the housing sector and how far Canada needs to go in order to meaningfully implement the right to housing for all.

Last month, we surveyed our partners to identify the priority advocacy issues across the membership of the NRHN. We received over 65 responses, which has provided an important overview of key issues in the immediate and long term.

What we heard from you:

  • Right now, partners identified that access to basic needs for persons experiencing homelessness and ensuring space to practice social distancing, social isolation and quarantine as the top advocacy priorities among respondents.
  • In the long term, participants ranked federal purchasing of vacant properties to house those experiencing homelessness, expansion of the Housing Benefit, and rent reductions among the top advocacy priorities.

To view the visualized survey results, click the link below:

View Survey Results

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, it has become very clear that we cannot return to the world we had before. The right to housing is closely intertwined with the right to health. Now, more than ever, Canada’s next moves to implement the right to housing are matters of life and death.

Based on survey results and collaboration with partners, we are preparing our advocacy efforts to ensure that the implementation of the right to housing is the backbone of upcoming laws, policies, and programs.

Practically, this means making sure that governments have strong, well-resourced, and well-led human rights mechanisms in place, alongside expansion of programs like the National Housing Strategy to prioritize the elimination of homelessness, protections against the further financialization of housing, and increased investments to a maximum of Canada’s available resources.

As we work together to move Canada towards a recovery phase, we are gathering accounts of systemic barriers to the right to housing that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 health crisis. If you have advocacy efforts or accounts of human rights violations you wish to share, please email Michèle Biss at


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