Interim Housing Solutions

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This project supports the Region of Waterloo's strategic focus area(s):


The number of people currently experiencing homelessness in Waterloo Region is unprecedented. Similar to many communities across Canada, we are seeing the effects of living in poverty, mental health issues, rising housing costs, and the impacts of the opioid crisis, first-hand in Waterloo Region.

The Region of Waterloo estimates there are about 1,000 people currently experiencing homelessness across the region, including about 450 people experiencing homelessness for long periods of time (chronic homelessness).

As the Service System Manager for Housing and Homelessness, we are working with area municipalities and community partners on this very complex issue. We are also actively engaging with other levels of government on the necessary investments needed for permanent, sustainable solutions.


Interim Housing Solutions Strategy

We are moving forward with an Interim Housing Solutions strategy to address this challenging situation, using four key tools:

  • Expanding the Transitional Housing Program;
  • Expanding the Home-Based Support Program;
  • Expanding the Emergency Shelter Program; and
  • Permitting a temporary managed Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model.

In addition, we will create a Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which will guide the Region’s work to prevent and end homelessness.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in responding to the growth of homelessness and no one organization or government has the necessary resources to solve the problem alone. Addressing homelessness in Waterloo Region is a shared community responsibility. We work with partners from across this sector to support people experiencing homelessness, from emergency shelter providers to outreach to housing providers and more.

At the end of September, we will welcome Expressions of Interest from Service Providers for operating each of these Interim Housing Solutions. We will also welcome Expressions of Interest from property owners for the use of sites from which to operate these Interim Housing Solutions. More details on these Expressions of Interest will be provided as they become available.

Following Housing First principles, we are focused on a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness with the understanding that everyone is housing ready. We are committed to building a healthy and inclusive community for everyone where all residents can thrive and feel supported.


Interim Housing Solutions Implementation

Below is some background information regarding each Interim Housing Solution. View the presentation to Regional Council on the Interim Housing Solutions.

Transitional Housing

  • Transitional Housing Programs offer a supportive, temporary type of accommodation that bridges the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. Transitional Housing helps people with life stabilization by meeting health and housing needs through on-site staffing support.
  • In Waterloo Region, the existing Transitional Housing Program has been very effective in supporting people with long experiences of unsheltered homelessness move indoors, stabilize in housing, and in many cases, transition into permanent housing.
  • An additional Transitional Housing site will be established as part of the Interim Housing Solutions along with a new Indigenous-led Transitional Housing Program.
  • Transitional Housing is a key part of a system to end homelessness where there is a lack of affordable and supportive housing.

Home-Based Support

  • Home-Based Support Programs are rooted in a Housing First approach, helping people to find and keep a home in rental units located across the community. Through Home-Based Support, rent assistance is provided to make housing in the private market more affordable, and wrap-around staffing support is provided to help people stabilize and recover from their experience of homelessness. Since the staffing support provided to participants through Home-Based Support is portable, it can follow people if they re-locate to other housing in Waterloo Region.
  • In Waterloo Region, Home-Based Support Programs are effective in ending homelessness and reducing a person’s risk of returning to homelessness. These Programs also strive to preserve positive relationships with partner landlords.

Emergency Shelter

  • Emergency Shelter Programs help people meet their basic needs and connect to housing options through temporary congregate or semi-private overnight accommodations. Emergency Shelter Programs do not require people to sign leases or occupancy agreements.
  • Emergency Shelters are short-term responses to homelessness, and focus on connecting people to housing and community supports as identified in individualized housing plans. These plans support a rapid move from emergency shelter to permanent housing.
  • Housing Helplines provide prevention and diversion services by supporting people to explore alternative safe and appropriate options to avoid a shelter stay whenever possible.
  • In Waterloo Region, Emergency Shelter Programs are housing focused. This means Programs focus on encouraging rapid exits from homelessness into permanent housing.

Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model

  • A Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model provides temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness through a facility or property, including a managed space for outdoor tenting options. A Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model does not require people staying to sign a lease or occupancy agreement.
  • A Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model provides an additional temporary shelter option for people experiencing homelessness.

Plan to End Chronic Homelessness

The Region will create a Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which will guide the Region’s work to eliminate homelessness. We will provide an update to Regional Council on the framework, process, and timelines in early 2023. More updates to follow as they become available.


More information will be provided here as planning progresses.

This project supports the Region of Waterloo's strategic focus area(s):


The number of people currently experiencing homelessness in Waterloo Region is unprecedented. Similar to many communities across Canada, we are seeing the effects of living in poverty, mental health issues, rising housing costs, and the impacts of the opioid crisis, first-hand in Waterloo Region.

The Region of Waterloo estimates there are about 1,000 people currently experiencing homelessness across the region, including about 450 people experiencing homelessness for long periods of time (chronic homelessness).

As the Service System Manager for Housing and Homelessness, we are working with area municipalities and community partners on this very complex issue. We are also actively engaging with other levels of government on the necessary investments needed for permanent, sustainable solutions.


Interim Housing Solutions Strategy

We are moving forward with an Interim Housing Solutions strategy to address this challenging situation, using four key tools:

  • Expanding the Transitional Housing Program;
  • Expanding the Home-Based Support Program;
  • Expanding the Emergency Shelter Program; and
  • Permitting a temporary managed Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model.

In addition, we will create a Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which will guide the Region’s work to prevent and end homelessness.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in responding to the growth of homelessness and no one organization or government has the necessary resources to solve the problem alone. Addressing homelessness in Waterloo Region is a shared community responsibility. We work with partners from across this sector to support people experiencing homelessness, from emergency shelter providers to outreach to housing providers and more.

At the end of September, we will welcome Expressions of Interest from Service Providers for operating each of these Interim Housing Solutions. We will also welcome Expressions of Interest from property owners for the use of sites from which to operate these Interim Housing Solutions. More details on these Expressions of Interest will be provided as they become available.

Following Housing First principles, we are focused on a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness with the understanding that everyone is housing ready. We are committed to building a healthy and inclusive community for everyone where all residents can thrive and feel supported.


Interim Housing Solutions Implementation

Below is some background information regarding each Interim Housing Solution. View the presentation to Regional Council on the Interim Housing Solutions.

Transitional Housing

  • Transitional Housing Programs offer a supportive, temporary type of accommodation that bridges the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. Transitional Housing helps people with life stabilization by meeting health and housing needs through on-site staffing support.
  • In Waterloo Region, the existing Transitional Housing Program has been very effective in supporting people with long experiences of unsheltered homelessness move indoors, stabilize in housing, and in many cases, transition into permanent housing.
  • An additional Transitional Housing site will be established as part of the Interim Housing Solutions along with a new Indigenous-led Transitional Housing Program.
  • Transitional Housing is a key part of a system to end homelessness where there is a lack of affordable and supportive housing.

Home-Based Support

  • Home-Based Support Programs are rooted in a Housing First approach, helping people to find and keep a home in rental units located across the community. Through Home-Based Support, rent assistance is provided to make housing in the private market more affordable, and wrap-around staffing support is provided to help people stabilize and recover from their experience of homelessness. Since the staffing support provided to participants through Home-Based Support is portable, it can follow people if they re-locate to other housing in Waterloo Region.
  • In Waterloo Region, Home-Based Support Programs are effective in ending homelessness and reducing a person’s risk of returning to homelessness. These Programs also strive to preserve positive relationships with partner landlords.

Emergency Shelter

  • Emergency Shelter Programs help people meet their basic needs and connect to housing options through temporary congregate or semi-private overnight accommodations. Emergency Shelter Programs do not require people to sign leases or occupancy agreements.
  • Emergency Shelters are short-term responses to homelessness, and focus on connecting people to housing and community supports as identified in individualized housing plans. These plans support a rapid move from emergency shelter to permanent housing.
  • Housing Helplines provide prevention and diversion services by supporting people to explore alternative safe and appropriate options to avoid a shelter stay whenever possible.
  • In Waterloo Region, Emergency Shelter Programs are housing focused. This means Programs focus on encouraging rapid exits from homelessness into permanent housing.

Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model

  • A Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model provides temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness through a facility or property, including a managed space for outdoor tenting options. A Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model does not require people staying to sign a lease or occupancy agreement.
  • A Hybrid Shelter/Outdoor Model provides an additional temporary shelter option for people experiencing homelessness.

Plan to End Chronic Homelessness

The Region will create a Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, which will guide the Region’s work to eliminate homelessness. We will provide an update to Regional Council on the framework, process, and timelines in early 2023. More updates to follow as they become available.


More information will be provided here as planning progresses.

Ask a Question

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  • Ask your question in the box below and click "Submit"
  • Submitted questions are reviewed by the Housing Services Team
  • Responses are provided within 1 - 2 business days of receipt. 
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Page last updated: 05 Apr 2023, 12:34 PM