Although Canada’s three levels of government have declared adequate housing as “essential to one’s sense of dignity, safety, and inclusion;” the current multifaceted and multi-jurisdictional housing system is complex and does not allow equitable access to housing. This is especially true for Autistics people living in our country.
The process of securing suitable housing is oftentimes a source of anxiety for many Autistic Canadians, riddled with frustration and insecurity. The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ (CAHS) 2022 Assessment on Autism Report found that, “Many encounter barriers including discrimination because of income and they realize, with current demands for housing, that others may be given priority over them.” This inequitable housing situation is detrimental to one’s sense of dignity, safety, and inclusion in society.
Partnering with the Housing through an Autism Lens Solutions Lab and incorporating learnings from our Policy Compendium (2020, 2021), we have developed ten policy recommendations targeting the federal policy areas of Housing, Employment, Workforce Development, Social Development and Disability Inclusion. These recommendations are designed to inform the National Housing Strategy (NHS) by addressing profound and systemic inequities to accessing suitable housing for Autistic people living in Canada.
Authors: Amy Lonsberry, Pari Johnston, Maddy Dever, Toney Lieu, Stéphanie Côté, Dr. Jonathan Lai and the Housing Through an Autism Lens Project Team