Housing/Urban Affairs and Community & Social Services
SPR has conducted numerous evaluations and surveys in the areas of housing, urban affairs and community and social services for governmental and voluntary agencies:

  • Assessment of Financing Models for Shared Equity Housing in Canada. The goal of this ongoing study is to provide a balanced assessment of the success, benefits and risks of shared equity housing financing models. The research focuses on shared equity programs in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario and involves an on-line survey of those involved in shared equity housing (planning/ housing officials; developers; non-profit sponsors/partners; and financial organizations). Telephone interviews will also be conducted with key informants, such as: housing developers/sponsor organizations; housing agencies; planners; financial institutions and mortgage brokers (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2017);

  • Approaches to Applying a Gender-Based Lens to Affordable Housing. This project will help CMHC to better understand various initiatives which will be launched under the National Housing Strategy (NHS). An environmental scan will be conducted to identify the housing needs of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) communities. The results will enable CMHC to ensure that NHS-funded initiatives are developed through a gender lens and address the housing needs of women and LGBTQ+ communities (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2017);

  • Evaluation of the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit Pilot Program: The goal of this project was to design and complete an evaluation of the Survivors of Domestic Violence Portable Housing Benefit (SDV-PHB) Pilot Program that provides funding from the Ministry of Housing to Service Managers in select regions of Ontario. The pilot program was delivered by four Service Managers in selected areas of Ontario where there are eligible SDV households on social housing waiting lists. The SDV-PHB provides an alternate means of providing housing assistance as a monthly subsidy so households can find their own non-rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing in their communities rather than waiting for an available RGI unit (for the Ontario Ministry of Housing, 2016-2017);

  • Understanding How the Canadian Housing System Facilitates Rental and Owner-Occupied Housing: This recent study on Canada's housing system assessed how government policies influence both rental and ownership housing, in particular, factors affecting the supply and demand for these types of housing. The study examined the policies of all levels of government and all housing sub-sectors. Key steps included: development of a profile of the policies and impacts by tenure, based on existing information from CMHC and on-line website searches (including a scan of relevant literature); telephone interviews with key policy officials and other experts to clarify sources of information on policy impacts; development of an on-line survey of key representatives from public, non-profit and private sector housing organizations, and other experts, to obtain insights on supply and demand impacts of policies; and selection of specific policy impact areas for case studies (for CMHC, 2016-2017);

  • An Examination of International Housing Policies and Initiatives for Homeownership, and Policies to Encourage Movement Within the Housing Continuum. This project reviewed and assessed international housing policies and initiatives in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Through a robust literature review, approaches and funding models were identified that could have relevance to the Canadian context. The policy review of affordable homeownership included downpayment assistance or rent-to-own programs. Policies and approaches examined included those that increase self-reliance such as asset building programs, escrow accounts or trust funds, grant or loan programs, intervention subsidies and other programs that help to increase self-sufficiency and encourage movement along the housing continuum (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2016);

  • Review of Shared Equity Housing Finance Models in Canada and the US. This review involved an annotated bibliography and a scan of similar models of this housing finance tool and the potential for expansion of this funding model to better aid the goal of affordable housing in Canada, in particular, housing for seniors (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2015);

  • Assessing the Outcomes for Habitat for Humanity Home Buyers in Canada. This project involved compiling and analyzing the data generated from a survey of some 1,400 Habitat for Humanity homebuyers in Canada. In particular, financial, employment, educational and health impacts were assessed. The final report examined homebuyer satisfaction and summarized the impacts on homebuyers of purchasing a home through Habitat for Humanity (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Habitat for Humanity, 2012-2013);

  • Review of Best Practices in the Redevelopment-Regeneration of Social & Affordable Housing in Canada. This research project involved a Canada-wide scan (via an on-line survey) to identify best practices in the redevelopment-regeneration of social housing. Consultations were conducted with regional and local housing organizations projects, reflecting different redevelopment-regeneration models; and case studies were conducted with representatives of redevelopment-regeneration projects which have been completed or were nearing completion (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2009-2011);

  • Evaluation of the Shelter Enhancement Program. This evaluation, initially conducted in 2001-2002 and replicated in 2007-2009, involved surveys of shelters, clients of shelters, regional contacts and physical inspections of shelters to assess the impact of this renovation program on the physical condition of buildings, play areas for children and security systems. A unique feature of the 2008-2010 evaluation involved a survey of leaders' and professionals' views from over 120 First Nations and other Aboriginal communities across Canada (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2001-2002 and 2007-2009);

  • Review of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA). This review examined the CHRA's performance from 2006 to 2008, in providing information and housing-related services to the non-profit and broader housing sectors. An on-line survey of some 1,000 non-profit and other housing and social service stakeholders was used to assess the CHRA's achievements, communications, and web-site (for the CHRA, 2008-2009);

  • Review of the Newcomer's Guide to Canadian Housing. This evaluation examined users of this CMHC publication through telephone and web surveys of newcomers to Canada, potential newcomers to Canada still residing in China, India and the Philippines, and staff of settlement and housing help agencies in major Canadian cities. Comparisons were drawn to the situation of Canadians generally and the way in which housing information maximizes the quality of newcomers' housing choices in terms of homebuying and finding rental accommodation (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2007-2008);

  • Evaluation of the Homeowner Education Training Program (HETP) Pilot. This evaluation assessed the value-for-money of HETP in the Auditor General Framework, with an emphasis on a cost-effectiveness analysis. Telephone, web, FAX and mail surveys were conducted to assess the impacts of two main information treatments on over 2,000 potential homebuyers: HETP in-person seminars; and CMHC web and print publications. Impacts were assessed in a quasi-experimental design and applied a variety of regression models (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2004);

  • Metro Toronto Housing Authority (MTHA) Resident Satisfaction Surveys. A random sample of 9,000 MTHA residents were surveyed by telephone and mail to provide guidance to MTHA on a variety of housing management issues. Surveys focused on resident satisfaction with: quality of service; levels of maintenance; quality of safety; community and recreation services; and communications (for the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, 1997-2000);

  • Next Step Evaluation. This evaluation examined the role of second-stage shelters in assisting women who have experienced family violence to secure new long-term housing, and build socio-economic independence. Data was obtained through national bilingual surveys of shelter staff, Federal, Provincial and Territorial fund providers, and a survey assessing client satisfaction. A cost-benefit analysis compared the impacts of second-stage shelters to the provision of longer-term housing through existing housing programs. The final report recommended a strategy for new private-public partnerships for improved use of existing social housing (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1996-1997);

  • Evaluation of the Urban Social Housing Program. An evaluation of non-profit and rent supplement housing in Canada, this study involved cross-Canada telephone, mail and in-person surveys of over 4,000 tenants and 2,000 housing managers in the Non-Profit/Rent Supplement and Urban Native housing programs (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1993-1996); and

  • Project Haven Client Information System. This study developed a client information system for the evaluation of family violence shelters. Data was collected on more than 9,000 women using shelters, along with related data on non-resident services. A centerpiece of the study was the development of unique instruments and indicators for recording the entry and exit of shelter clients. The final report highlighted a number of policy issues, including the need for economic services (income support, training) for women experiencing family violence (for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1993-1994).