Housing hot button: Should your foundation divest from residential REITs?

New report says Canada's largest residential REITs are not providing investors with enough information to be sure they're upholding the human right to adequate housing

Why It Matters

For endowed foundations, where they invest has the potential to boost their impact beyond their granting — or work at cross-purposes with it. More information would help foundations make informed decisions.

Tamara Herman, associate director of capital strategies at SHARE, a non-profit shareholder advocacy organization. Photo: Joshua Berson

Experts say foundations should take a close look at their investment portfolios after a recent report revealed a troubling lack of information around affordability, eviction rates and building maintenance at Canada’s six largest residential real estate investment trusts, representing more than 125,000 housing units.

Published by SHARE, a non-profit shareholder advocacy organization, the report analyzed data from 2021 and 2022. It found that none of the six investment trusts, also known as REITs, disclosed enough information about their practices to allow investors to make informed decisions.

“There’s been a real push to align foundations’ investment portfolios with their missions and their beliefs, and it’

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