Unsheltered - Needs and Choices

Oct 1 2020

Slide presentation on Unsheltered needsThe first virtual forum on Affordable Housing and Homelessness, titled Everyone deserves a place to call home, was hosted by Wellbeing Waterloo Region and partners, including the Social Development Centre. Unsheltered Campaign has grown out of the pandemic community response to fill the gaps in needs of the homeless who remain outside of the shelter system. The forum recording is available now, but for now, take a look at the slides presented by the community advocate Heather Majaury and listen to the Unsheltered Testimonies played at the openingo of the conversation. To get in touch with the Unsheltered Campaign team email unshelteredcampaign@gmail.com or visit Civic Hub Waterloo Region website. More Unsheltered Testimonies can be found at this page.

AGM 2020 Grassroots Connection October 14

Sep 4 2020

2020 AGM2019 was a year of adaptation and moving forward. In July, the Civic Hub was launched, we started the Oral History project on gentrification and displacement, supported Waterloo Region Multicultural Connection & sense-making process with the Wellbeing WR survey, and started inviting lived experience groups to collaborate and work together. 

2019 Activity Report - 2019 Financial Report - 2020 Activity Update 

Join the Virtual AGM with Big Blue Button platform (orientation at a glance) or let Lesley@waterlooregion.org know if you would be coming in person to the Civic Hub WR, proper distancing and precautions taken.

Multimedia Specialist to join 27th Annual Celebration

Aug 24 2020

Annual Celebration MultimediaKitchener’s Festival of Neighbourhoods team is seeking a candidate with experience in creation of audio/visual promotional material to assist in planning, hosting and disseminating stories about neighbourthood activities and gatherings during the pandemic for the first online Festival of Neighbourhoods Annual Celebration to happen on November 15, 2020. 

Ontario Trillum Update

Aug 5 2020

For individuals filing after the June 1, 2020 deadline, the Ontario government decided not to pay the July - Sept benefits on 2018 tax return.  The sales tax portion of the benefit was paid in July.  For individuals, that amount would be $313.  The energy (rent) and property tax portion will not be paid until the 2019 tax return is filed.  The 2019 return must be filed by Sept 30, 2020 or other provincial benefits such as Ontario portion of Canada Child benefit will be cut off.

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. 

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.