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HousingNB student spotlight: Meet the students making NB housing research more accessible

Author: Evan Smith, Tara Scott, Karlene Dalzell and Benz Trani

Posted on Sep 14, 2023

Category: DataNB

Evan Smith, Tara Scott, Karlene Dalzell and Benz Trani

What is HousingNB?

New to P2P in 2023, HousingNB is a student research project led by NB-IRDT that aims to evaluate New Brunswick’s progress towards achieving its share of Canada’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) goals. Released in 2017, the NHS is a 10-year, $82 billion federal plan that aims to help Canadians access housing that meets their needs while reducing homelessness and core housing need through the creation of affordable housing. It is important to measure New Brunswick’s progress, especially since we are now roughly halfway through the 10-year strategy.

Research is an essential component to allow for a deeper understanding of what needs to take place and how to solve potential issues and problems within the housing sector. One of these problems, for example, is acceptable housing, which is defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) as housing that is “adequate in condition, suitable in size, and affordable,”1 which falls under one of the main NHS targets. The CMHC considers housing to be affordable when it costs less than 30% of a household's before-tax income. According to the Housing, Mobilization, and Engagement Research Lab, as of 2021, 62% of renter households in New Brunswick with annual incomes of less than $30,000 pay unaffordable rent.3

This is just a snapshot of just one of the topics HousingNB explores. To supplement their evaluation, the HousingNB team created a website to serve as a framework for how to analyze New Brunswick’s progress towards the goals of the NHS. If you would like to learn more about the National Housing Strategy, New Brunswick housing, or related information, take a look at the HousingNB infographic or HousingNB.

Meet the 2023 HousingNB Team

Evan Smith just finished his fourth year at the University of New Brunswick, where he is pursuing an honours in political science. Upon graduation, Evan is applying for his master's in public policy for the fall of 2024. When not in class, Evan enjoys running on the UNB Track and Field team, listening to podcasts and reading books.  

Tara Scott is in her third year at Mount Allison University, where she is completing a bachelor of arts with a major in political science and a double minor in history and Canadian studies. Post-bachelor’s degree, she is open to exploring various career paths and discovering her professional interests. Tara is an active member of Mount Allison’s varsity dance team and finds joy in immersing herself in nature during her free time.

Karlene Dalzell graduated in May of 2023 with an honours in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. Karlene is interested in pursuing a career in psychology and will be applying to graduate schools in hopes of obtaining a masters and a PhD in clinical psychology. She aspires to one day become a psychologist and work with youth who have been victimized. In her spare time, Karlene enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family and being outdoors.

Benz Trani is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick with a bachelor of arts, majoring in political science and minoring in history. Benz will be doing his graduate studies in political science at UNB starting in the fall semester of 2023. With an aspiration of getting a PhD, Benz’s goal is to become an educator. Born in the Philippines, Benz moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick in 2016. Benz’s hobbies include playing music, watching movies and playing sports such as tennis and basketball.

What is Pathways to Professions (P2P)?

Each summer, NB-IRDT hosts cohorts of student research teams as part of its Pathways to Professions (P2P) experiential learning program. For 13 weeks, these students work on New Brunswick-relevant projects while attending a full curriculum of professional skills workshops. In 2023, NB-IRDT embarked on its second year of partnership with the Government of New Brunswick's Future GNB / Avenir GNB program to host P2P students working on government research projects – allowing the program to grow in both size and reach. 

1 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (n.d.). Housing Market Information Portal.
2 Statistics Canada. (2023, July 31). Persons living in acceptable housing, by tenure including first-time homebuyer and social and affordable housing status, by province [Table 46-10-0071-01].
3 Housing, Mobilization, and Engagement Research Lab. (2023, May 1). New Brunswick's affordable rentals are vanishing.