Regional council investing $1.55M in new equity-based rent assistance program

The Region of Waterloo administration building is seen in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. (David Imrie / CTV Kitchener)

The Region of Waterloo announced a new equity-based rent assistance program on Thursday, aimed at making housing more affordable for Black, Indigenous, racialized and marginalized families.

The program will support 30 families this year before expanding to 200 families in 2022.

Regional council is investing $1.55 million to create the new Rent Assistance Program that officials say will help reduce housing costs, allowing families to use the program to make their current home more affordable to move to another rental home in Waterloo Region.

“We know that housing is essential to the wellbeing of all residents, and is foundational to promoting a healthy community for all,” says Regional Chair Karen Redman. “That is why Council is very happy to announce this new rent assistance program that will make housing more affordable for some of the most historically underserved and marginalized communities. It is an important step forward.”

The funding is part of a $15 million investment from council approved earlier this year to improve the "economic, social, and cultural health and wellbeing of Black, Indigenous, racialized, and marginalized community members."

In a release issued Thursday, regional officials said the program's objectives include increasing the supply of affordable housing for Black, Indigenous, racialized and marginalized families; strengthening partnerships with community agencies and promoting social and economic inclusion.