Rethinking Rental Housing in Cape Breton


Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid, Associate Professor in the Master of Business Administration in Community Economic Development (MBA in CED) program, does research on housing and social economy organizations (non-profits and co-operatives). She is currently conducting an inventory of rental housing in the CBRM in partnership with Cape Breton Community Housing. This project involves capturing vacancy rates, rents and the location of rental housing vis-à-vis important services in the community. Tenants of this rental housing will also be approached as part of the research project as a way to understand the quality, affordability and security of rental housing in the community in which CBU is located. That research is funded by the Homelessness Partnership Strategy.

Dr. Leviten-Reid’s research is not only helping local organizations transition to housing first (meaning that individuals on the margins are placed in housing and have access to services as a way to help them get back on their feet) but is also informing policy and housing literature. Most of the housing research in this country is conducted in cities like Winnipeg and Toronto.

Meanwhile, at a policy level, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation takes the pulse of the rental housing market in communities like CBRM by collecting data from buildings with three or more units in them. In CBRM, however, the rental housing universe looks quite a bit different.

This is not the first project Dr. Leviten-Reid has conducted in partnership with local actors. In the spring of 2013, Leviten-Reid completed a study of Supported Housing for Individuals with Mental Illness (SHIMI) with Pamela Johnson and Michael Miller. The SHIMI advisory committee was able to apply the results of this evaluation to their work, and results were also published in the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health.

Dr. Leviten-Reid is passionate about the research that she does and embraces the opportunity to work with community organizations to study real-world problems (ones which also have theoretical implications). She also feels privileged to have the opportunity to work with, teach and learn from students in the MBA in CED program.

Dr. Leviten-Reid has published articles on social economy and social care in journals including the Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, VOLUNTAS: The International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations and the Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Economy Research. Dr. Leviten-Reid is on the board of the Affordable Housing Renovation Partnership, is a member of an inter-organizational committee overseeing the 2016 homelessness count in CBRM and recently served on the economic advisory committee for the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy. From 2010-15, Dr. Leviten-Reid was also a co-investigator in a major SSHRC funded Community University Research Alliance (CURA) called “Measuring the Co-operative Difference.”

Originally from Ontario, Dr. Leviten-Reid completed her PhD in Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan before joining CBU.