Back to 360° City
May 11, 2023
Halal Housing Lab: The Wicked Problem

There is a significant need for affordable housing across Canada, particularly within the Muslim community. Currently, Muslims are the second largest and fastest growing group seeking affordable housing in Canada. However, the existing affordable housing model presents two major barriers to housing this population:

  • First, these families tend to be larger and require housing with 3+ bedrooms, which is hard to come by in the current housing stock.
  • Second, the community is struggling to build viable housing options due misalignment with conventional financing models, and Islamic financing principles.

Over the next number of months, our team will be exploring the following question:

How do we leverage civil society to design, build & sustain appropriate affordable housing for racialized and, multi-barriered communities?

This question is guiding the Halal Housing Lab, a Solutions Lab that is funded by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. The CMHC Solutions Lab program offers organizations with funding and expertise to help them solve complex housing problems, and explore new ways of making progress on a housing challenge. These labs fuel bottom-up collaborative innovation by bringing diverse groups of people together to solve complex housing problems for government’s consideration and help inform decision making at all levels. This lab was initiated by Islamic Family Social Services Association (IFSSA) in partnership with Another Way, SAS Architecture, Ask for a Better World, and Intelligent Futures (a CMHC-qualified innovation consultant that leads the Solutions Lab process design and delivery).

Today, we’ll begin to explore the complexity of the challenges that impact housing affordability for newcomer and Muslim families in Edmonton, Alberta, with the various lab partners. This episode is the first installment of the Halal Housing Lab Series, with future episodes zooming in to the focus areas of built form, programming, financing, and lived experience that will influence the lab process.

If know of any non-traditional affordable housing models that you think might be relevant to the exploration of Halal Housing, drop us a note at We would love to hear about them!

Listen now