We are your local agent to assist with applications for the Ontario Electricity Support Program to cover the cost of electricity for low income households. Our intake workers can answer your questions, check your eligibility and help you fill out an application. To make an appointment, call our community HelpLine 519-579-3800. Read more at the Ontario Energy Board website and our local announcement.
Staying Housed and keeping a home is becoming more challenging with the persisting lack of available, adequate and affordable rental units. Renter's Toolkit: Finding and Keeping a Home is a new resource for renters produced by the Region of Waterloo Community Services in collaboration with organizations and agencies providing housing supports in the region. Our contribution to the initiative grew out of the community engagement work in neighbourhoods with tenants and property standards enforcement agencies. Tenants' Rights Enforcement Information Sheet is a product of collaboration with Kitchener ByLaw and Fire Safety, Waterloo Region Community Legal Services and Police Services, R.E.N.T. and KW Tenant Group to assist renters primarily in Kitchener how to navigate multiple systems of support.
This year we invite everyone to take the Reach! Challenge, by designing neighbourhood gatherings in a way that breaks down invisible, but oh so real, barriers for people to participate. We know that sometimes there is a fine line between someone ‘wanting’ or ‘being interested’ in connecting with their neighbours and their not feeling comfortable, able or welcome to come out to neighbourhood gatherings. We are excited to be preparing a tool about how to be intentionally inclusive, accessible and welcoming based on our 24 year's long experience with Festival of Neighbourhoods. Read more in our March E-Neighbour.
Message from Cherry Park: Unleash the Power of Neighbours! on March 24 at St Mark’s Lutheran Church. Cherry Park Neighbourhood Association and Social Development Centre are hosting gathering to explore what drives people’s action in their neighbourhood. They have been working together to create buzz around a special engagement process thanks to the Neighbourhood Connection Award won at the 2015/2016 Festival of Neighbourhoods Finale. We will support the current leaders and volunteers to connect with interested neighbours who want to explore what excites and inspires people to get involved and how to best nurture future engagement.
Social Development Centre has been a member of the Living Wage Waterloo Region Steering Committee since its inception. In 2015, we led the evaluation process to learn what employers who joined appreciated most about the initiative. In 2016, we conducted a survey to learn about employee experience working for living wage employers. This is a report that incites action. Learn more about the Living Wage Waterloo Region and the ways to get involved.
"It can take me 2 hours to get to FoodBasics and back with my walker because I take two busses. The bus transfer does not even last long enough."
"With two little kids for whom 30 minutes is too much to walk and going by bus around is too long for basic groceries."
"It is important to get to work early in the morning when not even buses go."
While the City of Kitchener is collecting input for a feasibility study regarding a pedestrian connection over ION tracks in Traynor-Vanier neighbourhood, our team made door to door visits and talked to 176 tenants to contribute valuable input about travel patterns in the area.
2017 Pre-budget submission to the Ontario Ministry of Finance: "It is not necessary to undertake a complicated pilot project to prove people are better off with more income. This has already been proven time and again. We urge you to consider the ethics of this plan and to not delay increasing basic assistance to people who face real desperation. Increase or augment social assistance rates to at least 80% of the Low Income Measure and increase Discretionary Benefits to at $15 per person... It is important that the provincial budget reflect what is important for people in a coherent, integrated and understandable way. A piecemeal approach that offers small gains for various groups will not reflect a rational perspective of what is necessary and appropriate for the investment of shared tax dollars to benefit Ontarians individually and collectively."
This year's theme asks ou to “Reach!” We want to encourage you to engage and extend yourself into your neighbourhood, to reach out. You might find that doing so might increase your capacity, or your “reach”. Challenge yourself this year to reach out a little further! Read more in thE-Neighbour.
The new year and the snowy weather are upon us. Disabilities and Human Rights Group is resuming its regular activity and the next meeting is on Wednesday, January 11 at 1:30pm-3pm at 74 Frederick Street in Kitchener. Besides the continuation of the winter sidewalk safety discussion, the group will be setting priorities for 2017 and identifying further challenges in support system navigation to strengthen its capacity for advocacy. Some of the identified areas to work on are: access to information, inclusion and strong neighbourhoods, housing, transportation and mobility, health care, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Standards. The group relies on the knowledge gained through experience and works from what people can do and contribute. Everyone is welcome to join.
The Social Development Centre relies on partnerships such as the one we have forged with the City of Kitchener over the past five decades. The work being done at the Social Development Centre deals with what is important to the community and fits well with the City’s own strategic priorities. For 2017, we have asked the City of Kitchener to restore core funding to the Centre to support our social development work. Good process and fair treatment are important factors in building trust and community so it came as a surprise to our Board of Directors that we did not get any response about what we had proposed for 2017 and that our appeal was stopped and not allowed to proceed. Representatives from our Board are presenting to City Council on December 12, 2016 their concerns about the process that has unfolded. Read more about our application and the appeal process and get in touch if you have questions or concerns.