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.
Traynor Park was a close by playground for the families along Traynor, Vanier, Siebert and Woodhaven Road until December 2013 when the construction started to support installation of the ION tracks. Since then, KW Tenant Group and the Social Development Centre have been asking the City of Kitchener to find another suitable location for the park once the construction is over. With the support of the Ward Councillor John Gazzola and the City of Kitchener staff, Traynor Park consultation kicks off on April 24th, 5:30pm at St Phillip's Lutheran Church. Residents would be sharing their feedback on the location chosen for the project and their input on what activities should be sustained in the neighbourhood with the new park space. The project will fit nicely with the future community trail to be reintroduced along the ION tracks as well as the potential pedestrian crossing over the tracks.
RENT (Renters Educating & Networking Together) in Waterloo Region has been advocating for rent control since the 2000s. Ontario 2017 Budget recognizes the hardship that the rent control exemptions have put on renters: ...the [Ontario] government will bring all tenants under the province's existing rent control system, ending the exemption that currently allows unlimited rent increases in units built after 1991. (CBC, April 20 2017). Congratulations to RENT and all tenants' rights advocates in Ontario for bringing this change to the private rental housing market. Together with the other affordable housing provisions in the 2017 Ontario Budget we can expect more development and protection of the rental housing.
Our Decent Lives project reflects the guiding principles of the civil analytics, explained by Canada 2020 authors Don Lenihan and Thomas Pitfield: "While we agree that civil analytics will change the nature of policy discussion, we believe it will do so in ways that expand the opportunities for meaningful debate, dialogue and collaboration... Getting the right mix of people around the table to sort through these issues is a critical condition for the success of civil analytics. These people won’t be just data scientists. Depending on the issue, the process will need experts of various kinds. Ordinary citizens are important too. In a democracy, they are the “experts” on values and priorities." We are developing assessment tools with data collected and interpreted by many experts in our community. Be curious and get in touch with us to learn more.
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.