We’re working to make housing more affordable in our city so Kitchener can be an even better place for everyone to call home. Learn about our advisory committee, project updates and phases.

On this page:

  1. About the strategy
  2. Advisory committee
  3. Project updates
  4. Project phases
  5. Documents and resources

About the strategy

We know the importance of strong and diverse neighbourhoods where residents can grow and thrive. That’s why we’re developing a new housing strategy and working to make housing across Kitchener more affordable.

We’re working with these groups to find solutions that will increase housing options across the housing continuum:

  • our advisory committee
  • Region of Waterloo
  • community groups
  • members of the non-profit sector
  • development industry

On December 14, 2020, staff presented the recommended strategy to council.

Advisory committee

Our advisory committee is made up of members of the public, city councillors, community partners, development industry professionals, academics, city staff and regional housing staff. This committee has played a key role in building the strategy.

  • public: Kathy Hamilton, Linda Terry, Martin Asling, Margaret Ellis-Young, Karen Taylor-Harrison, Regan Sunshine Brussé, Charles Nichols, Alan Praught, Janice Bock
  • Kitchener city council: Debbie Chapman, Christine Michaud, Dave Schnider, Paul Singh
  • non-profit: Lori Trumper, Elizabeth Clarke, Karen Coviello, Dan Driedger, Aleksandra Petrovic Graonic, Jessica Bondy, Joe Mancini, Al Mills, Carl Cadogan
  • industry: Alex Sumner, Mike Maxwell, George Bikas, Stephen Litt, Tracey Appleton
  • Region of Waterloo: Ryan Pettipiere
  • LHIN: Rhonda Wideman

Project updates

We'll post Housing for All projects below. Subscribe to this page to get an email when we add something new.

Lodging House bylaw review

We're reviewing our licensing bylaws to improve resident health and safety, consumer protection and nuisance control. We currently license Lodging Houses, otherwise known as rooming houses. We do not currently license short-term accommodation or property rentals. Learn more on Engage Kitchener.

To complement to licensing bylaw update, we are also updating the zoning bylaw to permit lodging houses more widely in Kitchener.

Staff plan to bring the licensing and zoning bylaw updates to city council later in 2023 or in early 2024.

Rental housing, eviction and displacement study

We're exploring ways to support tenants in Kitchener who rent their homes. One of the tools available to cities is a rental replacement bylaw, which would apply when six or more rental units are demolished. We're conducting a financial analysis on this tool and what it might mean for current renters and developers. Staff plan to bring a report that covers the full range of tools available in Kitchener to support renters to city council in late 2023.

YWKW Block Line supportive housing project for women

City council voted to provide a 50-year lease to the YWKW for new supportive housing. The project will have 41 units of supportive housing for women experiencing homelessness.

This project is supported by funding from:

  • City of Kitchener
  • Region of Waterloo
  • Rapid Housing Initiative funding from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation

OneROOF supportive housing for youth

We're supporting OneROOF as they develop 44 units of supportive housing for youth. This new build will ensure all youth who are homeless in Waterloo Region will have a place to live.

Learn more about the project.

Backyard homes and tiny houses

We're committed to building a caring community and finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis. Tiny houses, laneway suites and backyard homes add to the mix and range of housing in Kitchener. These all fall under the permit category of Additional Dwelling Units. We updated our zoning by law to allow for these on most residential properties.

Learn more about additional dwelling units.

Collaboration with The Shift - Leilani Farha's op-ed in the Waterloo Region Record

We worked with The Shift on a project to realize the right to housing in Kitchener. The Shift is a global housing advocacy group and will be leading the project. Leilani Farha is The Shift's Global Director and former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing.

Read Leilani Farha's op-ed on Housing For All in the Waterloo Region Record.

A Better Tent City

We're working with the Waterloo Region District School Board and The Working Centre to support A Better Tent City (ABTC). In 2021, A Better Tent City moved beside the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) office on Ardelt Avenue. Watch the CTV News coverage about the success of ABTC one year after the move to their current location.

Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award

At the 2021 AMO Conference, we were presented with the Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award. The P.J. Marshall Award is an annual competitive process to acknowledge municipalities who have had creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public. It is sponsored by AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.

For more information, read AMO's media release.

Project phases

The Housing for All project had five phases:

  1. project planning
  2. housing needs assessment
  3. issues and options
  4. prepare housing strategy and inclusionary zoning
  5. approval

Learn more about each phase below.

Phase 1: Project planning

In the first phase of this project, we:

  • established a work plan
  • created the advisory committee

For more information, read the staff report.

Phase 2: Housing needs assessment

Staff worked with the advisory committee to develop a housing needs assessment. We brought this assessment to the Community & Infrastructure Services Committee on January 13, 2020.

This report has since been updated with full 2019 data.

For more information, read the staff report.

Phase 3: Issues and options

Identify action options to address housing challenges, identify implications and possible directions of Inclusionary Housing Policy and zoning.

Community stakeholders including members of the public, non-profit community, and the development industry were engaged through an Engage Kitchener Survey and through interviews. Engagement for this phase is now complete.

For more information, read the survey engagement summary.

Phase 4: Prepare housing strategy & inclusionary zoning

Phase 4a

Staff presented the first draft of the housing strategy to council on August 31, 2020. 

Read more:

Phase 4b

Staff brought the Inclusionary Zoning for Affordable Housing: Background and Fiscal Impact Analysis report to the Planning & Strategic Initiatives Committee on September 28, 2020.

For more information, read the staff report.

Phase 5: Approval

Staff presented the recommended Housing Strategy titled, “Housing For All” to Council on December 14, 2020.

Read more:

Documents and resources