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 23 2020

Resuming tax clinicsWe are now preparing tax returns through phone interviews through the free tax clinic. 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.

No announcement has been made about whether the Ontario Trillium Benefits will be extended to September 2020 if taxes are not filed by June 1,2020

Care and Precautions for Unsheltered NOW

Petition on 24hr emergency shelters

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 May 20, noon

Coronavirus Community Update

Tax Filing and Benefits 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.

Area municipalities open outdoor recreational amenities. Check with your municipality.

State of emergency extended until June 2.

Dayprogram for the Unsheltered starts in Cambridge today, May 15 at 150 Main Street.

Region of Waterloo's new dashboard for COVID19 data tracking, and a weekly Coordinated COVID-19 Response Newsletter page you can subscribe to. 

COVID Canada Benefits: Simple, intuitive navigation with plain language descriptions of benefits and financial relief measures from Prosper Canada. CEWB will be extended until the end of summer.

Write to us what do you need to know or want to share at admin@waterlooregion.org.

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.

Homes 4 All

Mar 5 2020

Homes 4 AllSince November 2019, a number of lived experience groups and community members concerned about the housing crisis and homelessness in the region, have been gathering weekly to learn, share information, tell stories and take on small steps and meaningful actions towards solutions. Through collective storytelling, they have created a set of recommendations, an info sheet, content for a radio show, and Forum Theater sessions to support each other as we unpack hurt and trauma of being precariously housed and absent in mainstream decision making to address the humanitarian crisis in the region as a consequence of prolonged insecurity of income, housing, (mental) health and addictions care. Please read the recommendations shared with all affordable housing strategy teams in the region and subscribe to the ‘Homes 4 All’ podcast/radio show at CKMS Radio Waterloo 102.7. There are meaningful grassroots solutions, and we all have a role to play. Tell us what you can do. 

Grassroots Connection, 2020 Annual General Meeting

Feb 27 2020

2020 AGMHigh speed Grassroots Connection to tech sector in Waterloo Region. What would that look like? Join us as we explore technology sector in support of social justice work in the community on April 7th, during our Annual General Meeting, 6:00pm to 7:30pm at the Civic Hub. If you are in environment, arts, peace, culture, spirituality, housing, democratic reform work, we hope you get connected to our work and become a member, or you decide to impact our strategy by joining the Board. Find all about our work in 2019 in the Activity Report and let's connect soon!

2020 Tax Clinic

Feb 11 2020

2020 tax clinicWe will be hosting free income tax clinics starting March 2nd and running to April 30, 2020.  We are offering bookable appointments and drop-off services.  Our hours will be Monday and Wednesday 10 am - 8 pm and Tues and Thurs 9 am - 5 pm. Call or email to schedule a time:  519-579-3800 or tax-clinic@waterlooregion.org. To ensure that your return is completed accurately, please prepare all of the necessary documents as it applies to your situation from the tax clinic check list. Please note that if you are not receiving Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP), we can assist you in applying for it, even if not all the household members have filed taxes. 

Positions Open - Interactive Mapping Prototype Project

Jan 2 2020

ON Trillium LogoThe objective of the Ontario Job Creation Program is to support Partnership projects that provide participants with opportunities to gain meaningful work experience, which will improve their long-term employment prospects. Qualified individuals with a university degree or relevant experience, currently on Employment Insurance or having been on Employment Insurance in the last three years, are invited to apply for the positions Urban/Social Planning Research Assistant and GIS Mapping/Web Developer