The Housing Assistance and Life Outcomes Research Study
There are various forms of housing assistance programs for low-income households, ranging from designated affordable housing units to portable housing subsidies. Historically, housing assistance in Canada has been offered through unit-based programming, such as social housing managed by governments or non-profit housing organizations. Recipients of these programs rarely have much choice over where they live, often having to accept units that become available after lengthy waits. If the recipient moves out of their unit, their benefit ends. Thus, these programs are thought of as non-portable.
With the introduction of the Canada Housing Benefit (CHB), provinces and territories across Canada will be offering a portable direct-to-tenant housing subsidy, a form of housing assistance in which funds will be provided directly to the tenant. This new benefit is part of the National Housing Strategy (https://www.placetocallhome.ca/). The CHB allows a recipient to use the subsidy to help pay for a unit in private rental market, thereby reducing the proportion of their income spent on housing. If the CHB recipient decides to move, they are able to apply that benefit to their next unit of residence. Thus, this kind of benefit is considered portable.
The Housing Assistance and Life Outcomes research study (Project HALO) is a mixed methods study that will examine housing experiences and quality of life outcomes for households receiving portable and non-portable housing assistance. Specifically, we are interested in housing choice and housing discrimination, and how these factors are related to housing outcomes (i.e., housing and neighbourhood satisfaction) and other aspects of an individual’s quality of life.
Starting in December 2020, Project HALO will do this by:
- Inviting households that will be receiving the Canada Housing Benefit or are new social/community housing tenants to participate in this study
- Surveying these households for 1 year
- Interviewing recipients of the Canada Housing Benefit
Findings from this research is intended to gain a better understanding of how tenant-based housing subsidies, such as the Canada Housing Benefit impact households and how they might be optimized to improve quality of life.
This study is funded by CMHC and conducted by Pier Labs. The study will recruit participants through community organizations with housing services across Canada.