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Making connections

Engaging with other organizations in the housing and homelessness sector helps the Federal Housing Advocate make real connections with people and combine our advocacy efforts. Last year, the Advocate spoke at more than 15 events, where she touched on key themes of advocacy, housing as a human right, and collaboration at all levels to develop solutions. Here are just a few:

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference

The Advocate was a keynote speaker at the November 2022 Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) conference. Her speech touched on the advocacy journey to achieving the right to housing in Canada, and the work ahead. Above all, she highlighted that her most important role is to support the power of the people in claiming their rights and demanding change.

"It took decades to win the recognition of the right to housing in law—but this is only the beginning. These rights belong to all of us and it will take all of us working together to make the right to housing real."

Federal Housing Advocate, Marie-Josée Houle

The CAEH conference was also an opportunity to engage in workshops and symposiums with lived experts, front line workers, policy professionals, elders, leaders, survivors, funders, researchers, and activists. During the conference, the Advocate participated in the National Symposium on the Right to Housing for Women and Gender-Diverse People. The Advocate was honoured to hear their stories and strategize with these powerful lived experts and allies. In the wise words of one speaker, "Lived experts are great policy-makers."

Meanwhile, staff from the Office of the Federal Housing Advocate, along with partners at the National Right to Housing Network, delivered an interactive workshop entitled “Claiming the Right to Housing.” Staff shared about how the Advocate engages with the public through the housing submission tool. Using an interactive poll, participants shared the systemic housing issues most important to them, what they needed to put forward a systemic submission to the Advocate, and offered possible solutions to Canada’s housing crisis.

The Office’s research on financialization and encampments was also presented in two workshops led by the researchers Sue-Ann MacDonald and Caroline Leblanc (encampments) and Martine August, Nemoy Lewis, Jackie Brown and ACORN Canada (financialization).