A sign reading: Accessible Housing Now! And the rabble rousers logo.
The Accessible Housing Network is a rabble rousing organzation.

Each year, we here at rabble ask our readers: “What are the organizations that inspire you? Who are the people leading progressive change? Who are the rabble rousers to watch?” Every year, your responses introduce us to a new group of inspiring activists. This is our ‘rabble rousers to watch’ series. Follow our rabble rousers to watch here

To close out this year’s list of rabble rousers to watch, we want to highlight the Accessible Housing Network, a collective of various non-profit organizations and organizers across Canada advocating for accessible housing for everyone.  

​We spoke with Kate Chung, co founder of the Accessible Housing Network, about the work they are doing to educate and inspire the community around them on forest protection and the healing powers of nature. 

A conversation with Accessible Housing Network co-founder, Kate Chung

rabble.ca: Can you tell us about the work that you’re doing with your organization?

Kate Chung: The Accessible Housing Network is a collaboration of non-profit Canadian organizations, advocating in support of people of all ages to live as they wish, in housing that is fully accessible.  

Our mission is to ensure that, whatever their age or ability, every person in Canada can live in housing that is fully accessible. To this end, we call on every level of government to make universal design mandatory in every unit in all new multi-unit residential buildings. 

We invite individuals and groups to support our campaign by contacting their elected representatives at all levels — municipal, provincial, and federal.  

We urge everyone to sign our petition to the House of Commons and to share it widely across Canada.

rabble.ca: How did you first get involved in activism?  

KC: Well, I was born. I looked around. I paid attention. I was outraged. 

Then I had children of my own. That did it. 

rabble.ca: What does being nominated as a ‘rabble rouser to watch’ mean to you? 

KC: Maybe we are at last being noticed. But it is meaningless unless people everywhere take action – even just one, little action each. Write a letter to your councillor, your MPP, your MP; tell developers you want to live in a building in which every unit is universal design, so anyone of any age or ability can live there and can continue to live there as they age or perhaps have to cope with illness or injury, and so you can visit your neighbours.

rabble.ca: How do you take care of yourself and find the drive to keep going? 

KC: It’s difficult. But walks in nature (especially near water) help and playing with the grandchildren. Working with others who care is important.

rabble.ca: What is one goal you have in the next year? 

KC: Succeed in changing the National Building Code and every provincial building code, so we do not have to deal with this crisis in accessible housing any more. It’s 2023! 

rabble.ca: What do you wish people knew about the organizing you do? 

KC: I wish people would notice the struggles of elders and people with disabilities to find housing they can live in. Unless more people speak up, families will still struggle to find housing where they don’t have to carry their disabled children and teens up and down stairs, people will still have to crawl around in their apartments because their wheelchairs don’t fit, and elders will continue to be forced into long-term “care” jails because they can’t manage in non-accessible housing. 

“The streets of hell are paved with good intentions.”  

Action is what brings change.