Leilani headshot

Leilani Farha

Leilani Farha
UN Special Rapporteur


Leilani Farha, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, the world’s top watchdog on housing, has set out to reignite the idea that housing is a social good not an asset or commodity.  In the role since 2014, Farha has presented reports to the UN on homelessness, the connection between housing and life itself, and the treatment of housing as a commodity and its consequences for people who are poor as well as the middle class. She has traveled to India, Chile, Portugal among other places to investigate whether governments are meeting their human rights obligations with respect to housing. Farha launched a new initiative called The Shift, a global movement which calls for everyone to approach housing as a human right, not a commodity.

A lawyer by training, Farha has worked to advance the rights of poor and marginalized groups throughout her career. She is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty and was instrumental in launching a historic constitutional challenge to government inaction in the face of rising homelessness in Canada. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by a Canadian university in recognition of her work, the Barbra Schlifer Award for her commitment to advancing women’s rights, and most recently the Jack Layton Social Progress Award for Leadership.