Leilani is the Global Director of The Shift, an international movement to secure the right to housing, and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing (2014-2020). The Shift was launched in 2017 with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and United Cities and Local Government. It works with multi-level stakeholders around the world, including with several city governments in North America and Europe.
Leilani’s work is animated by the principle that housing is a social good, not a commodity. She 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 award-winning documentary PUSH regarding the financialization of housing, directed by the Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten. PUSH is screening around the world and, to continue its momentum, Leilani and Fredrik now co-host a podcast – PUSHBACK Talks – about finance, housing, and human rights.