Building Resilient Communities: Drawing Inspiration from Turkey to Canada

Today, we confront a housing crisis that has seen thousands of Canadians struggle to secure adequate housing, despite gainful employment and mental well-being.

Post-COVID-19 inflation, inadequate housing supply, national and international investors, all amplified by global conflicts, have stretched the housing market beyond the reach of the middle-class in a number of countries world-wide. This new face of homelessness now includes the educated and employed, who, through no fault of their own, earn too much for traditional aid, yet too little to keep pace with soaring rent and mortgage rates.

As a reaction to the ongoing crisis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently unveiled a $1.5-billion housing fund to assist non-profit organizations in acquiring and maintaining affordable rental units across Canada. The Canada Rental Protection Fund, included in the April 16, 2024 federal budget, will offer $1 billion in loans and $470 million in contributions to support this initiative. 

However, both the Canadian real estate industry and charitable organizations dedicated to the issue, are not optimistic that this initiative will be a long-term solution. While the government tries to bolster housing stocks, the belief is that it will not be sufficient to meet the immediate demands, with labour shortages and rising expenses adding to the challenge. Building homes is just one piece of the puzzle; ensuring these homes are affordable and accessible is equally critical.

A Turkish Housing Model for Canada?

While thousands of kilometers away, the Turkish government’s response to the devastating earthquake in February, 2023, along with the efforts of various non-governmental agencies, offered a potential blueprint for Canada in providing emergency housing solutions through coordinated, swift action. 

As reported by Reuters, on February 3, 2024, President Tayyip Erdogan said, “Today, we are delivering 7,275 houses in Hatay… We will gradually deliver 40,000 houses throughout the region as soon as their construction is completed,” during a ceremony in Hatay, the province worst-hit by the earthquakes. It was also shared that “Some 75,000 houses will be delivered over the next two months, Erdogan said, adding that the government planned to deliver a total of 200,000 houses this year.”

While both countries are building more houses, we find in Turkey a blueprint for community resilience and swift action. Turkey’s social structure and culture played a significant role in the relief efforts. Relatives opened their homes to family members in need, sponsoring their travel from southern Turkey to safer cities and inviting them to live with them. This sense of community and support is a hallmark of Turkish culture, and it has made a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by the earthquake.

In contrast, Canada’s culture and social structure have not provided the same level of support for those in need. Despite the government’s efforts to address the housing shortage, many working individuals who cannot afford more than $1,200 per month in rent are still forced to live in tents. This highlights the need for a more comprehensive approach to addressing homelessness in countires, including Canada, who don’t have a similar cultural safety net compared to Turkey.

CLLC & the CPIEAs – A Force for Change

Due to the magnitude of this cultural problem CLLC, and the CPIEAs, want to help. 

CLLC, a school with multiple branches and a strong family culture with a budget for supporting the housing crisis, is excited to provide financial resources to support the mission. The CPIEAs, as a free award and accreditation organization with a core value of giving back to communities, brings a sense of social responsibility and expertise for its international members and stakeholders in recognizing and supporting this initiative. 

By combining their strengths, CLLC and CPIEA can amplify their impact and make a more significant difference in addressing the housing crisis internationally, with Canada serving as a pilot project. Their joint mission demonstrates a collaborative approach to tackling complex social issues, inspiring others to follow suit.

CLLC’s 20th anniversary celebration also provides a timely opportunity to mobilize others to join the cause. 

A Two-Pillar Strategy

Our two-pillar strategy proposes;

1. The first pillar is a synergistic approach where government policy supports affordable rentals similar in structure to the commercial Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to aid businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

2. The second pillar addresses the missing cultural support that emerged as a conerstone in Turkey’s resilience to their earthquake housing crisis. This approach is not a mere proposal—it’s already in motion. 

With combined forces, CLLC and the CPIEAs are stepping in as families do in supporting each other during crisis. They are leading by example through their Family Fund commitment to pay a homeless family’s rent for five years.

A Celebration of Solidarity & Call to Collective Action

We call upon our network of educators, educational agencies, local organizations, and businesses to join us in this collaborative effort. By pooling our resources and expertise, we can create a supportive environment that extends beyond temporary shelter.

In July and August, 2024, CLLC Halifax, CLLC Ottawa, CLLC Toronto, CLLC Online, and CLLC Turkey, with the support of CPIEAs, will celebrate CLLC’s 20th anniversary by hosting events, virtually and in-person, that not only commemorate our journey but also advocate for comprehensive policies around affordable housing and mental health support.

We are extending an invitation to educational institutions, educational agencies, local organizations, banks, and businesses to join this initiative. 

Please RSVP by sending an email to the Aly Rajab at if you’re ready to take part in this meaningful cause. 

Let’s build bridges, not just homes. Let’s create a legacy of caring that will be remembered for generations to come. Join us in this crucial endeavor—for our communities, our cultures, our countries, and our future.

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