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City of Kitchener Housing Strategy <br />In late 2019, a Housing Strategy Advisory Committee was formed to provide advice on the creation of an <br />affordable housing strategy for the City of Kitchener. That advisory committee is comprisedof 35 <br />members of the public, the non-profit community, advocates, people with lived experience, the <br />development communityand academia, as well as municipal, regional and provincial staff. Councillors <br />Chapman, Michaud, Schnider and Singhare also on the committee. <br />The Affordable Housing Strategy will be the first time in decades that the City of Kitchener has undertaken <br />a comprehensive study of affordability across the housing continuum, which includes addressing <br />homelessness, social, non-market and market housing. <br />A draft Housing Strategy was presented to Council on August 31, 2020and staff are expecting to present <br />a final strategy to Council for its consideration in December 2020.The strategy will clearly define what <br />roles the City of Kitchener should play that are complementary to work of the Region,province and federal <br />governments, as well asthe non-profit sector and the private sector, to help ensure housing is provided <br />in the city that meets the needs of existing and future residents. <br />REPORT: <br />The City of Kitchener currently does not have any permanent staff dedicated toworking onissues of <br />equity, anti-racism,Indigenous initiatives, and othersocial justice issues such aspoverty,homelessness <br />and addictions(eg. consumption and treatment servicessite).As a result, Citystaffhas limited expertise, <br />or lived experience,in these areasto make informed decisions and recommendations to City Council. <br />To rectify this lack of staff subject matter expertise and lived experience, the workplan of the EDI Task <br />Force(first created in 2019 and updated in 2020), as well as the City’s Housing Strategy, both <br />contemplated making recommendations to City Council in Q3/4 of 2020 to secure dedicated staffing with <br />expertise in these areas. <br />Recent events within the local community havesolidified andaccelerated the need to secure thatstaff <br />expertise on an urgent basis: <br />On June 3, 2020, local leaders from Black Lives Matter WaterlooRegion, the African Caribbean <br />Black(ACB)Network, and otherscommunity leaders, organized a very successful Black Lives <br />Matter march in downtown Kitchener. This march, which was organized in response to the deaths <br />of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Regis Korchinski-Paquet, served as a <br />catalyst for urgentcommunity conversations about anti-Black racism.It also demonstrated a <br />desire from many residents for the City and othersto acturgentlyto dismantlesystemic racism. <br /> <br />On June 20, 2020, members of the local Indigenous communities established the O:se <br />Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp in Victoria Park. One of the demands of the camp organizers <br />wasthe need tofor local municipalities tocreate paid, permanentIndigenous staff positionsto <br />engagewith local First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. The camp has received significant support from <br />community members. In addition, staff have had discussionswith other local Indigenous <br />community members including the Wellbeing Waterloo Region’s First Nations, Métis, Inuit <br />Advisory and Advocacy Circle. These discussions have strongly reinforced the need for the City <br />to secure internal staff expertise to move forward on its obligations under the Truth and <br />Reconciliation Commission (see below). <br />3 - 3 <br />