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CAEFS’ Housing Strategy and the Right to Housing

CAEFS is developing a rights-based housing strategy focused on building housing principles, resources, and advocacy that better respond to the distinct needs of criminalized women and gender-diverse people, disrupt the cycles and systems of criminalization and homelessness, and contribute to the meaningful co-creation of thriving communities without prisons. 

Criminalized women and gender-diverse people face multiple systemic barriers to accessing and retaining safe and affordable housing. Our trauma-informed, intersectional, and gender-based research considers how housing need and criminalization intersect with experiences of violence, poverty, mental health and substance use issues, and recognize how these disproportionately impact women, Indigenous peoples, 2SLGBTQIA+, and/or racialized groups.  

There are a variety of community-led and care-based housing models that are not only safe, accessible, and appropriate but are spaces of community care, healing, and reconnection. Many of these models have already been put into action by member EFrys. These alternative housing models also face a variety of barriers including funding, restrictive regulations, and public opposition. Through a series of planned network and community engagements, CAEFS aims to foster co-creation and collaboration opportunities and develop resource and knowledge sharing platforms to build network capacity in designing, implementing, and operating responsive community housing. 

Finally, the right to housing movement and the recognition of housing as a human right by the Government of Canada in the National Housing Strategy Act (2019) have created new funding, advocacy, and capacity building opportunities. CAEFS is working to centre the experiences of criminalized women and gender-diverse people and support their position as rights-holder within these emerging legislative and accountability frameworks.