City of Kitchener donates land to Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region for affordable housing

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Kitchener and Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region have announced the first 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 by 2030.

“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,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “Stable and dignified housing is a core need, that best enhances the quality of life for both individuals and families.

“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.”

waterloo habitatCouncil approved a plan on Apr. 29 to 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.

The land donation, valued at $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.

It’s the fifth of seven key objectives already completed or underway with $42.4 million in funding awarded last by the federal government last fall.

Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region expects to start building new homes in early 2025 and 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.

Kitchener has also supported a “Better Tent City” for requiring emergency shelter, contributed land for supportive and deeply affordable housing units for women and children through the federal Rapid Housing Initiative, and approved 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.

“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,” said Philip Mills, CEO, Habitat For Humanity Waterloo Region. “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.”


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