City of Kitchener provides temporary location for A Better Tent City
City of Kitchener comes through at 11th hour to provide a temporary refuge for residents of ABTC
KITCHENER – Working in partnership with the Region of Waterloo and The Working Centre, the City of Kitchener has provided a property to temporarily relocate A Better Tent City (ABTC).
A small portion of the City’s Battler Road snow storage site will be provided as a short-term solution to house about 50 individuals who are currently living in small cabins at Lot 42 as part of A Better Tent City. The ABTC community has until June 20 to vacate that property which is under new ownership. The snow storage site will be made available for ABTC until the end of October 2021 after which it will be converted back to its regular use as part of the city’s winter maintenance operations.
“The City of Kitchener has a long history of stepping up and working with our community to address social challenges like homelessness that face both our city and the broader region,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of looking after our most vulnerable residents, and I’m proud that Kitchener Council, with its priority on affordable housing, came forward to collaboratively support A Better Tent City and its residents.”
ABTC leaders and The Working Centre will be reaching out to surrounding neighbours and businesses in the days ahead. The Working Centre is finalizing a ‘Good Neighbour Plan’ with the goal of creating dialogue, accountability and a commitment to the neighbourhood to maintain a respectful relationship. The plan will be available on their website soon.
In the past year, over 400 individuals have been appropriately housed under the Region of Waterloo’s 10 Year Housing and Homelessness plan.
“With Regional Council’s historic investment in affordable housing as part of the 2021 budget, and enhanced partnerships at all levels, we anticipate a 10-fold increase in the number of affordable housing units created each year than with previous strategies,” said Regional Chair, Karen Redman. “We look forward to working with municipalities and community partners to achieve our goal of preventing and ending homelessness, as well as increasing affordable housing.”
The Battler Road facility, located at 1585 Battler Road, is not used by the City during the summer months. It has a large, paved surface with berms that will provide some privacy for residents. Providing ABTC with the short-term use of this site will ensure that the 50 residents of the community will continue to have a home during the pandemic emergency while ABTC leadership continues the process to secure an appropriate location for relocation prior to winter.
The City asks the media to respect the privacy of ABTC residents as they transition to their new temporary site.