Unsheltered Campaign

A campaign led by community advocates who are housed and not housed to provide 24/7 alternatives to shelter for all unsheltered people in Waterloo Region. We are building bridges across social and economic divides – our experiences of it may differ, but the housing crises we live is the same!


Point in Time Count 2021

“There is trust and leadership in homeless communities. It is just that the greater community hasn’t accepted it yet.” – Stories and Narratives. SDCWR team engaged ten staff and community connectors to support the Point in Time Count, and most importantly, to collect life stories and narratives to complement the quantitative data. Our approach, embedded in lived expertise and relationships built over decades, is grounded in the realization that we still make important decisions based on numbers whereas the qualitative data is left out. Quantitative data has a notoriousness to generalize and overstate the arguments, is taken at face value, and yet maintains its reputation to be an accurate measure of social phenomena.

Eight of the SDCWR team members had a lived experience of homelessness at some point in their life. Many have been advocates for years, struggled to regain solid ground under their feet for themselves, their families and their peers. They dedicated 134 hours to the count, and collected 85 surveys, encountered 70 more homeless, and collected stories and narratives committed to amplify the voices of the homelessness. They also agree that if the weather was warmer, there was more time, more people would have been reached, especially the hidden homeless.

Without their wisdom and relationships, the engagement this year would not have been as revealing, as compassionate, and visionary. Read the Stories and Narratives Report and share your side of things.

Decriminalize Homeless Encampments in Waterloo Region

We are asking the groups and organizations in Waterloo Region to show solidarity and add their signature to the letter to municipal councils with the following urgent requests:

  • a stop to evicting and criminalizing encampment communities,
  • ending neo-vagrancy by-laws,
  • ample access to public restrooms and other amenities outside of a few central locations in the region,
  • eliminating hostile architecture that forces people to not use public amenities (like park benches),
  • re-allocating funds from downstream programs to upstream services such as transitional housing for unsheltered and hidden homeless.

Read the full letter sent to the Regional Council and staff.

The organizations and groups who already signed are:

50 by 30 Waterloo Region
A Better Tent City
Alliance Against Poverty
Awareness of Low Income Voices
Canadian Federation of University Women
Community Legal Services Waterloo Region
Conestoga Students Inc.
Disabilities and Human Rights
Divest Waterloo
Fair Vote Waterloo Region
Food Not Bombs
Green Light Arts
Ground Up WR
KW Community Co-op Kitchen
KW Urban Native Wigwam Project
MT Space
Neruda Arts
Peace for All Canada
People’s Action Group
Reception House Waterloo Region
Scaled Purpose
Shamrose for Syrian Culture
Social Development Centre Waterloo Region
Spiritual Heritage Education Network
Waterloo Region Community Garden Network
Waterloo Region Yes In My Back Yard

… your name here:)

Email us to let us know at unshelteredcampaign@gmail.com

Paule Madeleine Charland

Ontario Allliance to End Homelessness – Myths bout Encampments
SPECTRUM – LGBTQ2S+ HOmelessness & Income Inequality

Share your resources  with us and let us know if you are interested to support the Point in Time Coung of Homeless in September 2021.

_ _ _
Previous Campaign: Summer 2020
We Can Do Better 

Read Shelter 4 All | Unsheltered Campaign
We Can Do Better letter
We Can Do Better
letter sent to all municipal and regional councilors to launch a number of immediate actions to support the unsheltered and to ensure Homes4All.

Unsheltered Testimonies — hear from the unsheltered themselves, as we work to decriminalize homelessness, ensure access to washrooms and warming locations, support temporary settlements during the pandemic, and make sure that women in the region have access to barrier free overflow shelter spaces.
If you want to join in & get in touch unshelteredcampaign@gmail.com.

If you want to send us a monetary donation through direct bank autodeposit, please mark Unsheltered Fund and email sdcwr@waterlooregion.org.

Thank you all who sent your letters to municipal councils. We can do better to support all the unsheltered this summer and the coming winter!

Actions from the community partners:

Days of Action Unsheltered Campaign supported Days of Action 2021, annual advocacy initiative of the McMaster’s School of Medicine. You can read more in the two-pager outlining the final asks to all municipal councils in the region, as well as the full background paper. The student group met with 13 councillors to discuss these asks and to raise awareness of the needs of the housing-insecure populations. Currently, Region of Waterloo staff and regional partners are holding consultations to transform the system responses to homelessness and we will make a case that lived experience voices have the most intimate and intricate knowledge of current obstacles and future solutions and need to be integrated into the planning process.

Forum Sans AbriThe first virtual forum on Affordable Housing and Homelessness, titled Everyone deserves a place to call home, was hosted by Wellbeing Waterloo Region and partners, including the Social Development Centre. Unsheltered Campaign has grown out of the pandemic community response to fill the gaps in needs of the homeless who remain outside of the shelter system. The forum recording is available now, but for now, take a look at the slides presented by the community advocate Heather Majaury and listen to the Unsheltered Testimonies played at the opening of the conversation. To get in touch with the Unsheltered Campaign team email unshelteredcampaign@gmail.com or visit Civic Hub Waterloo Region website. More Unsheltered Testimonies can be found at this page.

  • ABTC, Unsheltered, Food Not Bombs, WR Yes In My Back Yard, and Social Development Centre Waterloo Region all had delegations at the regional council meeting on August 11th to address the report proposing to address the COVID overflow for single homeless men from Radisson Hotel and Kaufman YMCA/House of Hope before this winter; as well as, proposes a creation of alternative modular housing for 2021. The delegations can be heard in the meeting webcast, starting at 1hr and 50 min.

In the MEDIA


Download: 2020-04-09-Heather-Majaury-Letter-in-support-of-the-unsheltered.mp3, 6 MBytes, 6m03s

CanadaHelps donate buttonYou can donate to the Civic Hub or Unsheltered Campaign funds at our CanadaHelps portal.