Michael Shapcott

Director, Housing and Innovation

Michael Shapcott is Director, Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute, an independent, non-profit research and policy dedicated to advancing urban health. Michael has worked extensively in Toronto, in many parts of Canada, nationally and internationally on social innovation, the non-profit sector, civic engagement, housing and housing rights, poverty, social exclusion, urban health and health equity.

He is recognized as one of Canada’s leading community-based housing and homelessness experts.

Michael has a long record of public service, including appointments to the Downtown Community Advisory Board of the Toronto Board of Health, the Corporate Minimum Tax Working Group of the Ontario Fair Tax Commission, the Inner City Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board, the National Advisory Committee to the World Urban Forum II, the National Reference Group to the Mental Health and Housing Pilot Project, the Toronto Waterfront Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto’s Charitable Foundation, the Centre for Urban Health Initiatives at the University of Toronto and the Minister’s Advisory Committee of the Partnership Project (for Ontario’s non-profit sector). He developed 525 units of supportive housing as manager of the innovative Rupert pilot project, and has served as President of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. Michael has worked on housing rights issues with the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. He is a founding member of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. He is co-chair of Canada’s National Housing and Homelessness Network. He is active internationally with the Habitat International Coalition and has worked with community partners on housing issues in Beijing, Istanbul and Nairobi, as well as numerous Canadian and US cities.

In 2005, Michael led the Wellesley Institute’s Blueprint to End Homelessness in Toronto initiative, which, in turn, prompted the City of Toronto to prepare its official ten-year housing strategy. Michael has worked with community and municipal officials in a dozen Canadian cities to develop local housing plans. He has worked with Aboriginal housing and service providers nationally and in a number of communities to develop practical and effective strategies for Aboriginal housing under Aboriginal control. He is a founding member of the Housing Network of Ontario, and led the Wellesley Institute’s national housing initiative aimed at those who are precariously housed.

Michael has been active with faith communities and is a founding partner of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Alliance to End Homelessness, along with other social justice initiatives among a variety of faith communities. Michael is co-author, with Jack Layton, of Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis (Penguin, 2008) and co-editor, with David Hulchanski, of Finding Room: Policy Options for a Canadian Rental Housing Strategy (CUCS Press, 2004).

Before joining the Wellesley Institute, Michael worked at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Urban and Community Studies, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, the Toronto Christian Resource Centre. Michael attended the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and the Faculty of General Studies at the University of Calgary. He has completed economic studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In 2008, he was invited by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to be part of a workshop with two dozen participants from around the world at the University of Siena.

He lives with Ann, his wife, and Malcolm and Nicole, his two children, in Toronto.

To read recent posts by Michael Shapcott, click here.