October 14th, 2020
Affordable Housing in our Community
At Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region (EAFWR), we envision a community where everyone belongs and is valued for their contributions. Foundational to belonging is having a suitable and affordable place to live. For some of the people who use our services, living there successfully requires some support.
Affordable housing is a municipal responsibility. The supports to live there successfully can be found within developmental services, a provincial responsibility that, in most cases, is delegated to a local developmental services agency. Navigating two systems to find both the place and the support can be challenging, but the two systems are working together with increasing effectiveness. Community Living Elmira, KW Habilitation Services and Parents for Community Living are examples of local developmental services organizations that have also engaged in the work of affordable housing with municipal or housing partners. I hope that you find helpful and encouraging information within the resources shared below.
First, I want to highlight a current opportunity with the City of Kitchener. As part of the development of their Affordable Housing Strategy, they are inviting people with developmental disabilities and their families to participate in a focus group. There is also another focus group for staff members within developmental services.
Personally, I was a member of the Provincial Housing Task Force for four years, where I helped author the 2018 Housing Task Force Final Report. I currently participate on the City of Kitchener’s Affordable Housing Strategy Advisory Committee. We also have a member of our EAFWR team participating in this year’s cohort of Leadership Waterloo as they again work collectively on a project addressing affordable housing within our region. As an organization, we have recognized affordable housing as an important area of work and want to improve access for people with a developmental disability who need housing, while also educating the wider community.
I would encourage you to consider applying to be on the regional waiting list for affordable housing. The wait can be very long, so it is a good idea to apply, even if you are not currently considering moving. This could be a simple but very important step towards having a decent and affordable place to live.
Together, we can continue learning and being aware of affordable housing and champion inclusion and belonging for all.
Yours in service of the communities of Waterloo Region,
In the news
- MennoHomes Inc. and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church have partnered on a new affordable rental housing project in Kitchener-Waterloo. Read more: https://www.waterloochronicle.ca/news-story/10201136-what-s-going-on-here-new-affordable-rental-housing-coming-for-kitchener-waterloo/
Get involved and share your input
- Have your say! The City of Kitchener is seeking feedback and input for their Affordable Housing Strategy. Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region asked the City to ensure that their consultations include people with developmental disabilities. You are invited to share your ideas and feedback in upcoming focus groups, hosted by City of Kitchener, on Monday October 19. This is your opportunity to help shape decision-making that will have a significant, positive impact on housing in our community. To register, please email Andrew Ramsaroop, Engagement & Program Manager, Affordable Housing Strategy at Andrew.Ramsaroop@kitchener.ca or see the invitation for more details.
- Leadership Waterloo Region, in partnership with The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) at the University of Waterloo and Wellbeing Waterloo Region, will host a Virtual Affordable Housing World Cafe on Thursday October 22 from 9am to noon. Join this morning chat about all things affordable housing in WR, while supporting the solutions lab work of the Class of 2021. Advance registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/affordable-housing-world-cafe-registration-122599974825
- Residents of Kitchener are invited to share their input and ask questions about the City of Kitchener’s Draft Affordable Housing Strategy in a 15 minute survey: https://www.engagewr.ca/affordable-housing-strategy/survey_tools/draft-housing-strategy-survey. Your input will help shape decision-making that will have a significant, positive impact on housing in our community.
Learn more about affordable housing
- The City of Kitchener is taking steps to make housing more affordable in our city so Kitchener can be an even better place for everyone to call home, including the development of a Affordable Housing Strategy. Click here to read the Draft Affordable Housing Strategy
- Visit Kitchener.ca/AffordableHousing for the most up-to-date project information, documents and reports.
- Read about the work done by Leadership Waterloo Region’s Class of 2020 around housing solutions in the Affordable Housing Solution Lab’s Final Report. Leadership Waterloo Region’s current cohort, graduating in 2021, is also addressing the topic of Affordable Housing in Waterloo Region. EAFWR is pleased to support this program, and we have a member of our team participating in the class.
- The Developmental Services Ontario Housing Toolkit includes housing resources to help you create a housing plan: https://www.dsontario.ca/resources/housing/welcome-to-the-dso-housing-toolkit
- Read the Ontario Developmental Services Housing Task Force 2018 Report: https://www.planningnetwork.ca/Resources/27718/FINAL-REPORT-Project-Outcomes-Supporting-Resources