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episode

Episode 74: The Human Right to Housing — with Leilani Farha

September 17, 2020

Leilani Farha has a long history of advocacy around poverty and housing, in Canada and beyond. She is in conversation with Am Johal following her tenure as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, a post that saw her travelling the world to connect with people who were struggling with inadequate and precarious housing or homelessness, and to work with governments to uphold housing as a human right.

In this interview, Leilani speaks to concerning patterns in housing globally, including homelessness, evictions, unaffordability, and the financialization of housing. They discuss opportunities in Canadian housing policy, Vancouver’s housing crisis, and the incredible importance of having a safe place to call home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch a video recording of this interview on Youtube

Listen on: Soundcloud  |  Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Google Podcasts  |  Stitcher  |  Podyssey

Read about Leilani's current work as director of Make the Shift.

Watch the trailer for PUSH, a film following Leilani's work as a UN Special Rapporteur

“When governments sell out to developers, housing is no longer a human right,” an op-ed by Leilani Farha for The Guardian

“How the real estate financial model is harming us,” a TEDx talk by Leilani Farha (2018)

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing

National Right to Housing Network

Leilani Farha

Leilani Farha is the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Global Director of The Shift. Her work is animated by the principle that housing is a social good, not a commodity. Leilani has helped develop global human rights standards on the right to housing, including through her topical reports on homelessness, the financialization of housing, informal settlements, rights-based housing strategies, and the first UN Guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing. She is the central character in the documentary PUSH regarding the financialization of housing, screening around the world. Leilani Launched The Shift in 2017 with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Government.


Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal. We talk environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community-building and urban issues with featured guests. Hosted on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, this podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.

Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal. We talk environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community-building and urban issues with featured guests. Hosted on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, this podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.