Funding Awarded to CBU Professor for Research on Affordable Housing and Neighbourhood Deprivation

Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid, Associate Professor in Cape Breton University’s MBA in Community Economic Development program, has been awarded funding in the amount of $24,845 from the Social Sciences and Human Research Council (SSHRC). The Partnership Engage Grant is funding a research project entitled “Rental housing, community amenities and deprivation in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality,“ conducted in partnership with the Cape Breton Community Housing Association (CBCHA) as well as Laura Syms from the Cape Breton University library.
The research examines the location of affordable rental housing in the CBRM as it relates to community services and neighbourhood characteristics, such as poverty and social isolation.
This project will help inform the work of local housing organizations but also test social policy.  The research team will have the opportunity to explore an important component of the National Housing Strategy that was announced by the federal government in 2017. The strategy consists of the creation of a housing benefit, set to begin in 2020, which will provide financial assistance to low-income renter households to help them pay for their shelter costs.
However, as it currently stands, there are limits to the amount households can receive. If the research team discovers that more affordable rental housing is found in neighbourhoods with greater deprivation and fewer amenities, it means there is a need to consider increasing the amount of the housing benefit or investing more in neighbourhood revitalization. “This is important to explore because neighbourhoods matter to health and quality of life,” says Dr. Leviten-Reid.
The project will include mapping material and social deprivation across the municipality, mapping rental housing by its affordability and mapping amenities and services such as grocery stores, community agencies and health services. This information will then be analyzed spatially to look at relationships among the three.
“This research is one of several important projects that we have pursued on housing and homelessness over the past three years, with partners including CBU, Public Health, Police Services and the Community Advisory Board,” says Fred Deveaux, Executive Director of the CBCHA. “These partnerships and the work we have done together have been critical in understanding and addressing housing insecurity in our region.”
Dr. Leviten-Reid has had her previous research published in journals including Community Development, VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations and the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly and has extensive experience working in co-operative and non-profit sectors. She also leads a lab on campus called Building Resilience: A Community-engaged Research Lab.
For more information, contact Dr. Leviten-Reid at