It’s not about getting people off the streets, it’s about supporting people to create homes. That is something I believe in wholeheartedly. There are five factors for ending homelessness: adequate housing, income, support, belonging in the community and personal space
At least 300 people are homeless in our community, according to our last count. We’ve created a plan at the regional level to help end chronic homelessness. The aim of the plan is to ensure anyone impacted by homelessness who wants a home would be able to get on a plan to receive supportive housing or another form of housing. We recognize there will always be new people but the goal is to end chronic homelessness. The plan is dependent on funding from the province and as Mayor, I will continue to advocate for that funding.
Waterloo Region is fortunate to have strong non-profit organizations that partner with us to work toward solutions. We will continue to fund the non-profits who know how to chart the best path forward. We’ll work through third parties like the YWCA and SHOW to apply, build and run supportive housing. There is also a strategy to repair and improve the social housing owned by the Region of Waterloo to address affordable housing needs in our community. As it relates to being an age-friendly city, Waterloo has produced a seniors housing directory to help older adults find appropriate housing.
When it comes to housing affordability, we cannot control the free market. However, we have implemented a plan to allow more secondary units in more zoning areas. This has the two-fold benefit of creating more cost-effective housing while helping owners pay their mortgages. Rules will be in place to keep these units safe. We are seeing the addition of one-bedroom units and more reasonably priced suites in highly desirable areas.