The Team

Leilani Farha

Global Director

Leilani Farha is the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Global Director of The Shift. Her work is animated by the principle that housing is a social good, not a commodity. Leilani has helped develop global human rights standards on the right to housing, including through her topical reports on homelessness, the financialization of housing, informal settlements, rights-based housing strategies, and the first UN Guidelines for the implementation of the right to housing. She is the central character in the documentary PUSH regarding the financialization of housing, screening around the world. Leilani Launched The Shift in 2017 with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Government.

Julieta Perucca

Deputy Director

A law graduate from the University of Maastricht, with a degree in International and European Law, and a Political Science degree from the University of Ottawa, Julieta is an experienced researcher and human rights activist. She has been working alongside Leilani Farha for the last four years conducting missions, assisting with thematic and country reports, as well as helping to launch The Shift. She has been expertly trained in the area of the right to housing and as Deputy Director, she facilitates engagement with The Shift network. Julieta leads the work on housing and climate change for The Shift.


Dr. Kaitlin Schwan

Director of Research

Kaitlin teaches social policy at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work, where is appointed Assistant Professor, Status Only. She is also a Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (York University).

Since completing her PhD in Social Work at the University of Toronto, Kaitlin’s research has focused on homelessness prevention in Canada and beyond, particularly for women and youth. Across her work, Kaitlin uses research to build bridges between evidence, advocacy, policy, and lived expertise in order to advance housing justice for all.

Sam Freeman

Lead Legal Researcher


Sam is a human rights researcher with a degree in Law from Manchester Metropolitan University and a Master’s in International Humanitarian and Security Law from the University of Ottawa. During his Master’s he specialised in human rights within the United Nations framework and on increasing accountability in post-conflict justice processes.

He has spent a number of years working with the special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council, undertaking research and assisting in the writing of thematic reports and communications for the mandates of both the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to safe water and sanitation.


Keith González Sujo

Administrative and Finance Officer

As a political science graduate from York University, with a degree in international development from Trent University, Keith is passionate about global affairs, social justice and equity as it relates to housing. He has many years of experience in administration and has worked with several Toronto-based non profits

Kirsten McRae

Communications and Marketing Manager

Kirsten is a communications professional with a Master’s degree in Global Affairs from the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and a B.A. in journalism from Howard University. After leaving the advertising industry, Kirsten discovered her love of international relations and public policy during an extended period overseas. During her Master’s she specialized in government and development in East and Southeast Asia, as well the use of technology to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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