City of Kitchener donates land to Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region for affordable home ownership build

Today, the City of Kitchener and Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region announced the inaugural phase of “BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region”, a first of its kind in Canada, community-led partnership that will create 10,000 new affordable and attainable homes for individuals and families in Kitchener, and the cities and townships throughout our region by 2030. The announcement was made by Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, Kitchener South Hespeler Member of Parliament Valerie Bradford, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing Infrastructure and Communities and Philip Mills, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region. 

Subject to final Council approval on April 29, the City of Kitchener will donate a parcel of land at River Road East and Ottawa Street North to Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region and waive future development fees, such as permit fees and some development charges. Habitat Waterloo Region will use this land for purpose-built affordable housing that will include a number of larger three and four-bedroom units, as well as some smaller studio, one, and two-bedroom units. 

This housing announcement marks a new era in the relationship between the City of Kitchener and community partners to get more affordable housing built throughout our community and will serve as an initial demonstration project for this ambitious and innovative program to tackle housing affordability and supply. 

This land donation, valued at approximately $5.5 million, is part of the City of Kitchener's Housing for All and Make It Kitchener 2.0 commitments to provide city-owned lands for affordable and supportive housing projects. The land donation will support the BUILD NOW program and help achieve the City’s commitments under the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund initiative. Today’s announcement marks the fifth of seven key objectives already completed or underway in the $42.4 million in funding awarded to the City of Kitchener last Fall by Canada’s Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Sean Fraser, and area Government of Canada Members of Parliament. 

Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region expects to begin building these new homes in early 2025, or sooner. All units will be owner-occupied and sold to low- and moderate-income families (currently defined by the province as households that make less than $121, 500/year) who have lived in Waterloo Region for three or more years. Homes will remain affordable, even if owners decide to move. 

Today’s announcement is a further bold and innovative step being taken by Kitchener City Council in its collaborative efforts with other orders of government, private and not-for-profit partners and the overall community. Together, these partners are working to address the housing crisis being felt in cities and communities across Canada, through a variety of measures designed to address both housing affordability and supply throughout the housing continuum. Efforts over recent years range from the city’s support of A Better Tent City for those requiring emergency shelter, contribution of land for supportive and deeply affordable housing units for women and children through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative, and approval of one of the most permissive planning frameworks in Canada with Kitchener’s Growing Together initiative which allows for increased-densities in major-transit station areas, as-of-right permissions of up to 4 units per property throughout the City, along with the introduction of inclusionary zoning for new builds. 


“Kitchener Council is committed to positively transform lives by taking bold and innovative steps as part of our Housing for All strategy. Today, I’m thrilled to announce the inaugural project for the BUILD NOW Waterloo Region partnership, by coupling it with the City of Kitchener’s federal Housing Accelerator Fund commitments. Stable and dignified housing is a core need, that best enhances the quality of life for both individuals and families. Meeting those housing needs successfully requires community and government partners coming together in a new spirit of collaboration and innovation. We know investments are required at all points across the housing continuum, including investments in affordable and attainable home ownership, and today’s land donation and ongoing partnership will help achieve these objectives, thanks to the help of our federal government partners.”  

- Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic 

“I’m grateful for the support our staff and council have shown for Increasing housing supply across the continuum. This project shows the power of partnership and putting federal dollars to work to accelerate affordable housing options. It a great example of how providing City-owned land for this Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region affordable home ownership program and working with partners provides innovative and missing-middle housing solutions that will make the dream of owning a home a reality.” 

- Ward 2 Councillor, Dave Schnider  

“We are thrilled to begin a BUILD NOW project and to focus on building attainable housing for the residents in our community. What was once a big idea is now reality. This massive housing initiative has been community-led from the very beginning. We are so grateful to have partners like the City of Kitchener with such strong commitment and dedication to making attainable housing available for the residents of Waterloo Region. This is just the start of something big and we cannot wait to get shovels in the ground and folks into homes."  

 - Philip Mills, CEO, Habitat For Humanity Waterloo Region 

“By making it easier to build homes in cities across Canada, we are going to help get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can actually afford. Today’s announcement is an example of what can get done when we work together and is going to make a real difference for the people who call Kitchener and the communities of Waterloo Region home.” 

- The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities 


For more information, contact: 

Bethany Rowland  
Director, Corporate Communications & Marketing   
City of Kitchener   

Maggie Raposo
Director of Community Outreach
Habitat Waterloo Region 


About the Housing Accelerator Fund 

In November 2023, the federal government announced a $42.4 million Housing Accelerator Fund allocation for the City of Kitchener. This funding will fast-track the construction of 1,216 new homes by early 2027 to help address housing affordability and the increasing demand for housing in our community. 

The Housing Accelerator Fund helps cut red tape and fast-track at least 100,000 new homes for people in towns, cities and Indigenous communities across Canada. It asks for innovative action plans from local governments and, once approved, provides upfront funding to ensure the timely building of new homes, as well as additional funds upon delivering results. Building Kitchener Together and the transformative projects outlined here are part of our action plans included under the Housing Accelerator Fund. 

About BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region 

BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region is an ambitious housing project that will provide 10,000 units of missing middle homes across the cities and townships within our region. Drawing on a wide continuum of institutional knowledge from trusted stakeholders across the region, BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region is a practical housing solution that will result in significant and lasting change in our communities. Through collaboration and community engagement with the private and public sectors, as well as not-for-profit organizations, BUILD NOW: Waterloo Region is a testament to the commitment and tenacity of this community to improve housing conditions for our residents.