Locating and Relocating: Where to House the Unsheltered in Waterloo Region

Thursday, March 18, 2021 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

Where can the homeless live? This symposium will bring together two grass-roots organizations seeking to improve the housing situation for chronically homeless and unsheltered individuals in the Region of Waterloo. The first, A Better Tent City is a tiny-house community located on the lot of a former convention centre along Highway 7. After an unofficial shelter in a downtown Kitchener convenience store was shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, residents relocated to the lot. The second, responding to the pandemic lockdown, is an 80-person shelter in one of the University of Waterloo’s empty residence buildings, organized by The Working Centre in partnership with the Region of Waterloo. Planners and architects often assert that such housing initiatives should be located where the homeless are or at the very least in dense fabrics near other services. The two projects, so differently located to take advantage of particular opportunities, provide a means of comparing the benefits and challenges of siting shelter and services in the downtowns and peripheries of an increasingly affluent region. Together we will discuss how these places came to be, and what can be learned from where they are located.


Jeff WilmerFormer Chief Administrator’s Officer for the Region of Waterloo and active proponent of A Better Tent City

Nadine Greene, Former informal shelter operator and co-founder of A Better Tent City

Joe Mancini, Co-founder of The Working Center in Kitchener-Waterloo and recipient of an Order of Canada


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