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In March 2020, as traditional housing supports were being closed as a result of COVID-19 related <br />public health restrictions, several members of the community came together to create “A Better <br />Tent City” at Lot 42. This new form of shelter (in Kitchener), which has received significant support <br />from a broad cross-section of the community, was intended to establish a safer and more stable <br />alternative to informal encampments for individuals experiencing homelessness. At the same <br />time, a number of community partners such asthe House of Friendship, Lutherwood, YW <br />Kitchener-Waterloo, YMCA, ROOFandRay of Hope have had to pivot to utilize new shelter <br />models.Moving forward, the City and the Region are continuing to engagecommunity members <br />and partners in creative ways to reimage the shelter system and establish new supportive housing <br />options in the community. <br />Increasing Need for Dedicated City Staffing: <br />There are several factorscontributing to the urgent need for the City to securepermanent and dedicated <br />internalstaffexpertise to work on these important areas: <br />1)Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report <br />The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) provided a directive in the form <br />of Calls to Action to address the harm caused by the residential school system as well as other <br />systemic barriers and inequities faced by First Nations,Metis andInuit. The Calls to Action <br />established that municipalities have a responsibility to support reconciliation work directly within the <br />City’s mandate and to further support interjurisdictional cooperation in the application of Calls to <br />Action directed at other levels of government, organizations and industries. Within Kitchener there <br />are many opportunities to work with local First Nations, Metis and Inuit to pursue reconciliation in a <br />number of areas within the City’s jurisdiction, including: arts and culture, events, heritage, sport, <br />parks/land development and environment/sustainability.This work could include public art, <br />Indigenous music and performance, Indigenous sport and inclusion of Indigenous athletes in allforms <br />of sport, representing Indigenous content in heritage narratives to prevent erasure of Indigenous <br />societies, collaborating on land stewardship initiatives to promote sustainability, and Indigenous <br />access to land for the purposes of ceremony, food gathering and community/cultural development. <br />Since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final reportwas released five years ago, City staff <br />have startedto move forward on the City’s reconciliation obligations, however, with no internal staff <br />experience dedicated to leading this work, the City has made minimalprogress. Understandably, <br />members of local Indigenous communities, as well as others in the community, have become <br />increasinglyfrustrated by the slow progress to implement meaningful action to honour this important <br />work. Staff have heard clearly and repeatedly from members of local Indigenous communities, that <br />the City requires permanent, dedicated staff who have direct lived experience, cultural understanding <br />and an Indigenous world view to identify and implement organizational change in the form of <br />community engagement, customer service and workplace inclusion, as well as to facilitate <br />Indigenization opportunities within the community to support the TRC’s intent to restore culture, <br />promote healing and improve relationships. <br />2)Ontario Human Rights Code <br />The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits actions that discriminate based on protected grounds in a <br />protected social area, which includes accommodation (housing), contracts, employment, <br />goods/services/facilities, and membership in unions/trade/professional associations. The overall aim <br />of the Code is the creation of aclimate of dignity, mutual respect, and the ability to meaningfully <br />3 - 4 <br />