Housing and Homelessness

Professor: Alana Jones
Course code: URB337H1
Format: Lecture/Discussion

About this course

Homelessness is one of the most urgent urban issues today, demanding multi-layered solutions from planners, politicians, policy makers — and students like you, who are becoming educated and engaged urban citizens. Toronto, like other global cities, is characterized by a stark dichotomy: upscale residential and commercial development transforms the landscape, even while increasing numbers of residents are forced to live on the streets, in encampments, in shelters, or crowded into unaffordable and substandard housing.

Can we eradicate homelessness? In Housing and Homelessness, you will examine the systematic changes necessary to achieve the stated goal of the federal housing agency, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC): “By 2030, everyone in Canada  a home that they can afford and that meets their needs.” URB337H1 is a community-engaged learning course. 

What you’ll learn

  • Learn to trace the links between housing, homelessness, and urban politics through readings, discussions, guest presenters, and activities focused on the local setting of Toronto.
  • Connect with urban movements that are contesting displacement and making cities more equitable.
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of the frameworks, governance, and politics underlying Canadian housing policy and outcomes.
  • Build an ability to critically assess policy and programs, including international best practices, allowing you to synthesize, analyze, and communicate knowledge related to housing and homelessness.

Course highlights

This course features a community-engaged learning component, in which you will have the opportunity to participate in housing policy processes by:

  • reflecting on your own experiences accessing housing;
  • observing a meeting of a City of Toronto committee on housing and planning;
  • hearing from local housing experts;
  • conducting in-depth research on a current or proposed city policy and comparable examples from other jurisdictions; and,
  • advocating for a particular course of action or intervention to a real politician.

Good to know

Recommended preparation: GGR124, URB235, UBR236

Exclusions: INI337

Distribution requirements: Social Science

Breadth requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Have a question?

Need more info? Want to discuss if the Urban Studies Program is right for you? Looking for help in choosing courses? Jannie Chien, the Innis College academic program coordinator, can help!