Ontario Helps Protect Most Vulnerable People in Waterloo Region from COVID-19

Published on October 26, 2020

MPP Mike Harris and MPP Amy Fee announce social services relief funding to support emergency shelters and the construction of modular housing units.

October 26, 2020

WATERLOO REGION – The Ontario government is providing municipalities and Indigenous community partners with over $241 million to help protect the province’s most vulnerable from COVID-19, including those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Today, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris and Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee were joined by Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman to announce that Waterloo Region will receive $6,521,349 in social services relief funding to increase capacity in the emergency shelter system and support the construction of modular housing units on surplus lands.

“Our government is committed to supporting the work the Region of Waterloo and their agency partners do in our community to protect our most vulnerable,” said MPP Harris. “This $6.5 million provincial investment addresses the immediate need to add additional spaces in our local emergency shelters and also supports the Region’s plan to create more permanent housing on surplus lands”.

“This funding will go a long way in supporting those experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness”, said MPP Fee. “Our government is working hand in hand with our partners, like the Region of Waterloo and our local agencies, to make sure they have the tools and flexibility they need to keep these members of our community safe”.

“As the service system manager for housing and homelessness in Waterloo Region, the Region of Waterloo is pleased to use this funding – together with our local agency partners – to address both the immediate and long-term needs of our homeless residents” said Chair Redman. “By nearly doubling the capacity within our shelter system, we will ensure that everyone has a safe place to stay and will work to end chronic homelessness by investing in permanent housing that can be built quickly and cost effectively.”

House of Friendship, The Working Centre, and YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo also joined today’s announcement to speak to the benefits this provincial funding will have on their work in the community.

These funds are part of the province’s $510 million investment to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people. Funding will be delivered through the Social Services Relief Fund and will go towards protecting and supporting homeless shelter staff and residents, creating or renovating over 1,500 housing units, expanding rent support programs and creating longer-term housing solutions.

“We know that our municipal and Indigenous partners are facing extraordinary challenges, which is why these significant investments are so important,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark. “Our investments are helping to build longer term solutions as well as meet ongoing, immediate needs related to COVID-19.”

The Social Services Relief Fund is part of the up to $4 billion being provided to Ontario municipalities under the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement. It will help municipalities protect the health and well-being of the people of Ontario while delivering critical public services, such as public transit and shelters, as the province continues down the path of economic recovery.


• In March, Ontario launched the Social Services Relief Fund with an initial $148 million investment to help protect the health and safety of the province’s most vulnerable people in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. In July, an additional $150 million was committed to help improve shelters and create opportunities for longer-term housing. In August, Ontario committed another $212 million in funding, bringing the government’s assistance to service managers and Indigenous program administrators to $510 million.

• Ontario’s service managers and Indigenous program administrators help provide shelter or housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, victims of domestic violence, and members of Indigenous communities who are in need.

• In September, the Ontario government passed the Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act, which freezes rent in 2021 for the vast majority of Ontario’s 1.7 million renters in both rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled residential units.


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