A Better Tent City

A Better Tent City

The community is rallying around a much needed demonstration project! Why is this A Better Tent City? There is a willing landlord, 12 insulated cabins, garbage and recycling, kitchen, washrooms and an indoor warming space, shower and laundry, a safe and caring place. Find out more at the Civic Hub website.
The Social Development Centre Waterloo Region is a charitable partner of A Better Tent City, supported by the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund and KW Community Foundation.

We Can Do Better for Unsheltered in the Region

Jul 31 2020

Petition on 24hr emergency shelters

Our community is coming together to support people living outside, in encampments or in unsafe locations, without access to water, washrooms, or appropriate care during the pandemic and current hot weather. Of course, we have to do better. This is the letter the members of the Unsheltered Campaign have sent to all the councillors in the region. Will you raise your voice so all residents who were negatively impacted by income insecurity, lack of affordable housing, trauma and marginalization, can find a place, with the people they trust, to call home?

Recent actions taken by the Region of Waterloo, City of Kitchener ByLaw Enforcement, Regional Police Services and community partners:

Equity in Bill 184

Jul 21 2020

Homes 4 AllThe coalition of lived experience groups in the Waterloo Region appreciate the opportunity to share our views and submit the following comments and recommendations to the proposed Bill 184. With the changes brought on by COVID-19, we are the most vulnerable, lack financial supports, at high risk to meet rent payments and in constant fear of eviction. Prior to COVID-19, the housing crisis in the region posed a major concern, and the pandemic has further exacerbated the conditions. These constant stressors contribute to poor mental health and other health conditions that add costs to the economy by pushing more residents into homelessness and hosuing precarity. We need equity in the legislation that provides needed protections for tenants, as well as for landlords. Read our suggestions below and our response.

Summer Job Positions 2020

May 29 2020

The Social Development Centre Waterloo Region has openings for youth seeking experience in neighbourhood engagement and social development, done mostly online and in a virtual context. Two positions, each 8 weeks in length, with 35hr per week. The work would be cone between June 22nd and August 31st. These positions are open to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred; who have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of the employment & are legally entitled to work in Canada; between 15 and 30 years who are facing barriers to employment or professional development.

Most Supports for the Most Impacted

May 20 2020

Lived Experience GroupsThis pandemic has been hard on all of us, but those living in poverty are more impacted and are feeling more frightened than ever that we are being forgotten by society as a whole. Four groups of people from Waterloo Region who have much in common, experiencing life while living with low incomes, living with disabilities, and people with a passion to improve our society’s overall wellbeing - the groups sent their account of life during COVID-19 and recommendations to federal, provincial and regional representaives how to improve financial supports during and after the pandemic. Awareness of Low Income Voices, Disabilities and Human Rights, Alliance Against Poverty and People's Action Group.

Mapping of Displacement

May 19 2020

mapping of displacementLife Stories of Displacement oral history project solidified our objective to capture the history of recent gentrification in Kitchener-Waterloo core areas that are walkable from the LRT, as well as to make displacement more tangible for the community. Thanks to the ongoing collaboration with the University of Waterloo School of Planning, and the funding through the Ontario Job Creation Partnership program, we are opening a call for participants to support data collections. 

Resuming Tax Clinics

Apr 20 2020

Resuming tax clinicsFor those receiving benefits (GST, Ontario Trillium Benefit and Canada Child Benefits) and are low income, these benefits will continue in July even if tax returns have not been submitted by June 1, 2020.  We will continue to run tax clinics through June, July and August as needed for individuals and families, including seniors, post secondary students and newcomers.

To book a phone interview, please email  tax-clinic@waterlooregion.org. Let us know if you are not receiving the Ontario Electricity Support Program relief and would need assistance.

UPDATE May 15, 2020: 

It was announced that Canadians currently receiving  GST/HST and/or Canada Child Benefit  and have not filed their tax return by June 1, 2020 will continue to receive these benefits  until September.  If tax returns are not filed by September 2020, benefits will be cutoff in October.

June 1, 2020 is still the deadline for those owing taxes for 2019 and the tax payment is due September 1, 2020.

Care and Precautions for Unsheltered NOW

Petition on 24hr emergency shelters

We Can Do Better is a letter that followed an email campaign in Waterloo Region to support and sanction homeless encampments until we create homes for all, July 15 2020. 

We need a fighting chance for our unsheltered residents, Press Release April 11, 2020.

Find out more about the UNSHELTERED CAMPAIGN for temporary 24/7 emergency alternative shelters now: As a part of the Community Support Control Group’s pandemic response, all shelters in the region are open 24/7 and the A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener expended its daytime activities into overnight space so people can shelter in place. Currently, to counter the spread of the virus among the unsheltered, there are a few public washroom locations open in Kitchener and Cambridge, and two day drop in locations that they are not open seven day's a week. Unsheltered people have no easy access to water, hadwashing, enough food or a place to rest. Read the UNSHELTERED TESTIMONIES being published about life on the streets during the outbreak of COVID19. The letters sent by residents to ask about the plans to bring people indoors during the pandemic usually do not receive responses from the Regional Chair or the Mayors. We need over 250 additional 24/7 spaces in the region and we need them now for the basic human rights to shelter, healthcare, safety... and life. The PETITION for opening public and private facilities, funding and staffing of the additional shelter spaces is still open. 

The Right to Housing is The Right to Life

Read the full report on Homelessness as Global Human Rights Crisis.
Read also the National Protocol of Homeless Encampment in Canada.

Coronavirus Community Update

Updated June 17

Coronavirus Community Update

State of emergency expended until June 30.

Region of Waterloo's new dashboard for COVID19 data tracking.

Persons who receive Disability Tax Credit eligible for additional emergency benefits up to $600. Advocates says in excludes majority of persons living with disabilities.

CERB available until the end of summer.

30-day limit on prescriptions in Ontario expected to end by July 1.

Tax Filing and Benefits update: It was announced that Canadians currently receiving  GST/HST and/or Canada Child Benefit  and have not filed their tax return by June 1, 2020 will continue to receive these benefits  until September.  June 1, 2020 is still the deadline for those owing taxes for 2019 and the tax payment is due September 1, 2020.

In line with our core mandate, we will open up with current local, provincial and national advocacy campaigns to create better future for all.

Postponing Tax Clinic until further notice

Mar 15 2020

We will be closing Social Development Centre, Civic Hub and postponing tax clinics until until further notice as a precautionary measure, for our staff, volunteers and community members. We hope to resume scheduling of the meetings as soon as it becomes possible. For the time being, email us at info@waterlooregion.org or leave a messate at the tax clinic extension at 519-579-3800.