Gathering of Gatherings 2019

Nov 19 2019

2019 Celebration Group PhotoCitizens from neighbourhoods across Kitchener, city councillors & staff, and representatives of various supporting businesses and agencies came together in a spirit of celebration to share ideas on how to make their neighbourhoods stronger, and to be inspired by the stories of others. Participants struck conversations while enjoying ice cream and snacks, and visiting informational stations that highlighted the key aims of the Festival of Neighbourhoods and recognized the energy and efforts of participants. The Celebration was organized as a “gathering of the gatherings”, staying true to the overall aims of the Festival for bringing people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to meet and engage with one another. Read about the recognition to neighbourhoods comitted to inclusion in our November E-Neighbour and see more on the new Festival of Neighbourhoods Website!

2019 Annual Giving Campaign

Nov 16 2019

2019 Annual Campaign

We are fortunate to live in a prosperous community but the benefits of living in Waterloo Region are 
not shared equitably. Some of us are missed, forgotten or left behind. We need greater representation 
of diverse voices at the decision-making tables to address unaffordable housing, income insecurity,
and social exclusion. You can join the movement by supporting the work of Lived Experience Groups
through Peer Internship Projects
or help us bring the grassroots, ethnocultural and volunteer-led
resident groups under the roof of the Civic Hub Waterloo Region

Saving the Common Good 4/4

Nov 14 2019

Saving the Common GoodCan we recognize the land as a precious common good it is? We would then treat housing as a human right, not a commodity. People that live in a particular geography will have control over its use and stewardship. Public land will not be sold for profit-making. We can start saving the common good. Saving lives. Hear the wisdom of the people directly impacted by the homelessness, housing precarity and displacement. They speak of the inherent capacity of lived experience to guide strategies and policies. Actually, they tell us why it is necessary for low income residents to be at the heart of the solutions we will be creating as a community. The hope is that in the next year or two, you will have a chance to talk to many of them about their vision of social and affordable housing in Waterloo Region. 

How Did We Get Here? 3/4

Nov 6 2019

How Did We Get Here?In the third part of the series, you can think with us about "How Did We Get Here?". The conditions for the current affordable housing crisis have been building up for decades. Many policy changes in Canada and Ontario since the 90’s could be named, such as the interruption of the federal investment in social and non-market housing, provincial cuts to social assistance programs, or downloading of social service costs to municipalities. The list would go on. The point here is not to unpack the policy changes. The focus is on shedding light on the mindset that created those policies or that failed to anticipate and respond to the crisis in the making. It is the same mindset that has been shaping the course of the urban development and gentrification in cities around the world, as well as in Waterloo Region. 

Experiencing Displacement and Gentrification 2/4

Oct 30 2019

DisplacementExperiencing Displacement and Gentrification is a part two of a four part series. As we continue to publish stories of displacement and resilience, we will bring to light the invisible narratives beneath the ‘investment opportunities and the construction boom’.  We wish to stress the point that residents living on low income are a highly diverse population, and in a limited number of interviews, we encountered people who have post secondary education and are in precarious employment, homeowners, businessowners and low income earners, social assistance recipients and recipients of the Canada Disability Pension. You can also listen to the interview podcasts at the Anchor, Spotify, Google, Apple, Overcast. 

Life Stories of Displacement Series

Oct 23 2019

Life Stories of Displacement Podcast Series Building cheap and non-profitable housing seems to be an impossible scenario, especially in the urban core along major transit lines - except for all other conceivable scenarios. The Life Stories project started recording the history of our community told by persons who live on low income and have experienced marginalization in its many forms. Their voices were not represented in the long sequence of decisions that brought us to the present moment of reshaping urban development in the region. To read their testimonies and to listen to the full interview podcasts, go to the Life Stories of Displacement page where we will continue publishing three more episodes to better understand displacement, consider how we got to the crisis and how social justice and social commons can shape the future of our cities.

26th Annual Celebration

Oct 10 2019

25th Annual Celebration

If you are a neighbourly spirit, come and join the 26th Annual Celebration of the Festival of Neighbourhoods on Sunday November 17th, 1-3pm at Kitchener City Hall Rotunda. Regardless of having registered gatherings with the Festival this year or not, come and explore with neighbours from all over the city to fill up your Neighbourhood Loot Bag with ideas that are fun, surprisingly simple, empowering and within your REACH! If you haven't yet, RSVP by November 7th the number of adults and children to come: & 519-579-3800

Age of Gentrification and Truly Affordable Housing

Life Stories of Displacement "This is not about working-class areas being taken over by incoming hipsters and middle-class residents and businesses. This is another phenomenon entirely. This is about how global private equity firms have become leading players in the property market since the 2008 crash. This was predicted by the late geographer Neil Smith in the 1970s, who argued that when the gap becomes big enough between the rent a property earns and what it could earn if redeveloped for new residents, private capital would flow in, attracted by the potential to make large profits."  Anna Minton, The Guardian on September 20, 2019

The Age of Gentrification study is an introduction to the Life Stories of Displacement series about the living experience of displacement in the urban core of Kitchener-Waterloo created in collaboration with the University of Waterloo Professor Brian Doucet, School of Planning. Continue reading and follow us for more articles and podcasts. 

Sense-making of Wellbeing WR Survey Results

Sep 27 2019

Canadian Index of Wellbeing has published the preliminary data and the data set was already run through computer algorithms. The results, when read and run through lived experience, open a number of questions. The community connectors who supported the collection of responses to the survey in the summer of 2018, came together again to support the sense-making process of validation of the results and to identify potential gaps in data collection. General recommendation is that indicators addressing the material living conditions for low income people and persons with disabilities have to be revised as they do not reflect adequately the living experience of the people living in hardship. Social Development Centre wants to raise the awareness that people living in marginalization and exclusion can only improve their conditions if being in leadership roles in any research or strategy development from its inception to the implementation. Read the sense-making feedback summary.