Housing is a major theme of the Trent Community Research Centre’s work this year, with five of our community-based research projects exploring issues related to the housing crisis in Peterborough and the surrounding area.
Eight Trent University students are working on the five projects, exploring topics like post-incarceration accommodation, best practices for youth respite homes, and the success of the City of Peterborough’s rent supplement program. These students are earning academic credit while studying a real challenge facing the Peterborough community, and they’re even helping to generate possible solutions.
Kasandra Tancorre, a Forensic Science and Anthropology major, is studying the best practices for establishing host-homes for youth experiencing homelessness for A Way Home Peterborough, an organization with the goal of reducing youth homelessness in Peterborough by 25% by 2021. Tancorre was drawn to the project because she has volunteered at the Youth Emergency Shelter before.
“I felt that this project had the potential to really make an impact with Peterborough youth,” Tancorre said of her decision to take on the project. “I was really drawn to the preventative strategies that A Way Home Peterborough was looking to implement to help youth prior to them entering the shelter system.”
Two of the housing projects are being completed for the regional Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee (HSJCC). Carissa McPhee (Forensics and Psychology) is studying how to better accommodate the housing needs of provincial offenders when they are released from prison. Craig Rutherford is also a Forensics major; his project for the HSJCC is researching how to better alleviate local landlords’ concerns about renting to marginalized populations, and how to mitigate the risk they face in doing so.
Sabrina Bailey is a Forensics student who has partnered with the City of Peterborough for her community-based research project. Her research is helping the City to evaluate its rent supplement program, which subsidizes housing costs for people living with low incomes.
Lastly, four Psychology students (Natalie Jennings, Laurel Pirrie, Kara Rutherford, and Amy Smith) are conducting surveys and focus groups on behalf of Abbeyfield Lakefield to assess the need and interest for communal senior housing in Lakefield.
“The TCRC supports research that responds to important questions the Peterborough community is asking,” said John Marris, executive director of the Trent Community Research Centre. “Homelessness is one of the most pressing challenges our community is facing right now, so it’s no surprise that community groups are asking us to develop projects related to housing. Peterborough needs creative solutions to its housing crisis, and we hope our students’ research will help develop these solutions.”