Kitchener Wins Innovation Award for Housing Plan - Announced at AMO Conference

By: Kw Now Local News
| Published 08/18/2021

A caring community through the development of an Affordable Housing Strategy
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Kitchener wins Innovation Award for Housing Plan

'Our Housing For All strategy ensures that we’re building a caring community with a sense of belonging.' - Mayor Berry Vrbanovic

Kitchener Mayor meets with Provincial Ministers at AMO conference

Kitchener – City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic is joining other elected leaders from Kitchener and throughout Waterloo region in attending the virtual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference this week—using the opportunity to meet with Provincial Ministers to advocate for post-COVID economic recovery and growth.

“All sectors and so many businesses of all sizes, whether locally owned restaurants to major global organizations, have struggled over the past year. From manufacturing to tech, retail to tourism and entertainment venues, and so many more, all have felt the impact of the pandemic,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “We know there will be a lot of work to get our economy back on track, and I know we are up for this challenge. Through our Make It Kitchener 2.0 economic development strategy, Kitchener is investing up to $110 million in the coming decade, including $5 million for local post-COVID business recovery efforts. We look forward to continuing to work with the Province of Ontario to not only lead the post-COVID recovery but also boosting economic growth.”

Delegates heard from Premier Doug Ford, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, leaders of opposition parties and had formal meetings with Ministers and other elected officials.

“We appreciate the Province of Ontario reaching out to municipalities, over the past 17 months and during this conference, to listen to our concerns, support our residents and businesses, and to help shape our recovery,” said Mayor Vrbanovic. “We know great things can happen when governments work together, and the challenges we have faced so far and will face in the future, require tremendous and continued collaboration between all three orders of government – federal, provincial and municipal.”

Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award - Housing For All Strategy

Today, it was also announced that the City of Kitchener was the recipient of one of the 2021 Peter J. Marshall Innovation Awards for our Housing For All strategy. This visionary strategy boldly declares that housing is a human right, has more than 40 actions to help support the right to housing in Kitchener, and sets out tools that the City can use to help make housing a reality for all. While still in the early stages of implementation, Housing For All is already responsible for the development of over 100 units of new supportive housing, with half of these units being occupied by the end of 2021.

“We all deserve the right to housing and our Housing For All strategy ensures that we’re building a caring community where people feel a sense of belonging, are connected and have access to basic needs such as affordable housing,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “This award belongs to the many community members and partners, who worked with our Council and staff to develop this important strategy. We’re thrilled about this recognition but there is still work to be done. Aligned with our strategic plan, the strategy includes actionable priorities, including working alongside people with lived experiences of homelessness and housing challenges to help ensure the City is doing what we can to ensure safe and affordable housing is available for all residents.”

About The AMO

AMO works to make municipal governments stronger and more effective. Through AMO, Ontario’s 444 municipalities work together to achieve shared goals and meet common challenges. Through our policy development, cost-saving programs, conferences and training opportunities, AMO provides municipal officials with tools to succeed, and programs to help maximize taxpayer dollars.

Kitchener ... A Caring Community

The City of Kitchener recognizes the importance of strong and diverse neighbourhoods where residents can grow and thrive. As a vibrant and caring community, we’re taking steps to make housing more affordable in our city so Kitchener can be an even better place for everyone to call home. A key action from our Corporate Strategic Plan is to create a caring community through the development of an Affordable Housing Strategy.

In collaboration with the Region of Waterloo, community groups and the development industry, the city is currently in the beginning stages of developing an Affordable Housing Strategy aimed at addressing challenges to housing affordability in Kitchener across the housing continuum. As demand for housing in our city increases, we’re working to find solutions that will encourage a broader range of housing options and increase the supply of affordable housing opportunities available.