Livable Income

International Students and the Lack of Affordable Housing

In 2022, Cooper Institute had the pleasure of hosting Kelly Rivera, a student in the Masters of Island Studies program at UPEI, for a short student placement. Kelly explored the challenges that international students face in finding and keeping affordable housing. Here is her full report:

International Students and the Lack of Affordable Housing in Prince Edward Island

PEI Fight for Affordable Housing

Cooper Institute is a member of the PEI Fight for Affordable Housing, a grassroots tenants' advocacy group working to address the lack of affordable housing, tenants rights and the influx of unregulated short-term rentals on Prince Edward Island.

Affordable Housing Strategies for Charlottetown (2017)

In the fall of 2017, Kathleen Mawhinney, a 4th-year UPEI nursing student, took part in a community placement with Cooper Institute, as part of one of her course. Kathleen was a perfect fit for Cooper Institute, bringing with her a fresh outlook and a firm grounding in social justice. She spent her time researching affordable housing issues in the City of Charlottetown, leaving us with an excellent report, which she presented to Mayor Clifford Lee and the Chair of the City’s Planning Committee, Greg Rivard.

This is important at least in part because in Charlottetown, almost half of households are rented, as opposed to the national average of 30%, and of those households, 41% spend over 30% of their income on shelter, the standard by which housing is considered to be affordable. Almost 20% of Charlottetown renters spend over half of their income on shelter.

 As a nursing student, Kathleen made clear connections between housing and health, pointing to nurses’ ethical mandate to advocate for policies that address health concerns, including socioeconomic factors such as safe, affordable housing.

 Numerous reports have highlighted the poor condition of affordable housing in Charlottetown, and the need to enforce housing codes, and yet to date this has not been done.

Kathleen made several clear recommendations in her presentation to Mayor Lee, including bylaws to maintain a balance between preservation of affordable housing and redevelopment and research into specific housing needs in the city. Although housing interventions at the municipal level are not a panacea for problems of poor health, low income and housing insecurity, Kathleen concluded, they do present an opportunity for the City of Charlottetown to support the health and wellbeing of its residents. 

See Kathleen's report here: Affordable Housing Strategies for Charlottetown