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Affordable Housing & homelessness

The Issue: Affordable Housing & homelessness

Housing a fundamental need. A home provides the foundation for individual health and wellbeing and is the launching pad for positive social interactions and being engaged in your community. No one can reach their goals without safe, appropriate housing. Give to provide supports like critical emergency shelter and supports to those members of our community sleeping rough, prevention efforts that reduce evictions, supportive and alternative housing options, and supports for youth without a stable roof over their heads.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

How we help

Dollars Distributed
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people helped
# of Grants awarded

United Way WRC supported 9 critical organizations in this focus area in 2022, spanning the entire homeless story in the region, including: 

  1. Emergency shelters & alternatives (YWKW, Woolwich Community Health Centre – Ukrainian Refugee housing, Services and Housing In the Province (SHIP), Cambridge Shelter Corporation, A Better Tent City)
  2. Supportive and transitional housing (Supportive Housing Of Waterloo Region, House of Friendship ShelterCare)
  3. Crisis Housing Supports and street outreach (Aids Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Area – ACCKWA)
  4. Prevention Supports (Social Development Centre – Eviction Prevention program)


This support is critical. As waitlists for affordable housing grow longer, people end up staying longer in shelters and fewer emergency beds are available. By investing in both homelessness prevention efforts as well as shelters, we are able to make a real difference in the number of people becoming homeless and the wellbeing of those who are unhoused. 

Affordable housing & homelessness

Your Impact

The following are examples of impact of your donations from funded organizations and their programs.

  • A Better Tent City – 43,920 meals cooked for 50 regular residents and an additional 40 visiting residents.
  • Supportive Housing of Waterloo Region – 3 Supportive housing buildings maintained providing 73 residents with a sense of dignity and respect (including 1 building of 34 residents specifically designated for unhoused seniors).
  • YWKW – 25,692 nights of emergency shelter were provided in six months to 406 different individuals. 
  • YWKW – 102 households that came through the shelter were supported to find and secure permanent housing
  • “Loss of United Way funding would be catastrophic for ACCKWA’s harm reduction outreach capacity and ability to support individuals who are living rough and at severe risk for fatal opioid overdose. Loss of funding would result in closure of our Cambridge MACS drop-in hub, the only service providing multi-agency support to unsheltered homeless individuals in Cambridge.”
    The AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Area (ACCKWA)
  • “Without United Way funding, we would not have the adequate staffing resources to support those who are experiencing the trauma of homelessness alongside their acute health issues.”
    – House of Friendship
  • “[Funding does not keep pace with expenses and donor fatigue is increasing]. Funding from United Way is critical to the shelter’s ability to continue to operate 24/7.”

Adam’s life changed in just one moment, when he fell from a roof on a construction site. In some ways, he was lucky – his injuries (broken ribs, a twisted back and an injured spleen) weren’t life-threatening. But in other ways, he wasn’t so lucky. That’s because his doctor prescribed opiates for his pain – and Adam soon became addicted.  

His doctor noticed Adam had a problem before he did – and cut him off cold turkey. Adam went through horrible withdrawal symptoms, and somehow managed to keep on working through the pain. However, one day he gave in, and turned to street drugs like fentanyl to help manage his pain. That choice led Adam down a path where all he cared about was relieving his pain – and it meant leaving his family behind.  

“The day I left my home for good, I left with nothing. No clothes, no money, no ID. I had nothing, even though I had worked hard all my life,” said Adam. “My life was falling apart around me, and I couldn’t even make myself care.” Adam ended up living in his car for a few days before coming to House of Friendship’s ShelterCare program.  

Now, Adam not only has shelter, he’s also receiving wraparound care, including medical support to manage his cravings, and staff help to find an affordable place to call home. Thanks to your support, Adam is finding the strength to begin again. 

Affordable housing & homelessness

Funded partners

Below are the community partners we were able to fund in 2022 that support Affordable Housing & Homelessness.