COVID-19 Community Supports

The Region and its municipal and community partners are working together to ensure that vulnerable populations and others affected by COVID-19 get the supports they need. This page is updated regularly. Subscribe to receive email updates.

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Crisis and distress lines


If you or someone you know is in crisis or experiencing distress, please connect them to one of the telephone lines below.

 Local

Here 24/7 - Addictions, Mental Health & Crisis Services Waterloo-Wellington

1-844-437-3247 (HERE247) or TTY: 1-877-688-5501

https://here247.ca/

Here 24/7 is your front door to the addictions, mental health and crisis services provided by 11 partner agencies across Waterloo-Wellington. All you need to do is reach out to us. We do the intake, assessment, referral, crisis, waitlist and appointment booking work for these important programs.

It’s our job to be your guide, figure out your needs and help you navigate the system. This leaves you free to focus on maintaining hope and pursuing recovery.

 

Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region

519-741-8633

http://www.sascwr.org/

Our support line is a resource for anyone who has experienced sexual violence as a child or adult, and their friends and families. We provide emotional support and intervention, options, information, referrals, as well as advocacy and accompaniments. Phone support is available in more than 200 languages through an interpreter service. The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region also operates two shelters for women and kids fleeing abusive homes in Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding townships:

 

Anselma House (Kitchener)

24/hr support line: 519-742-5894

 

Haven House (Cambridge)

24/hr support line 519-653-2422

 

Front Door - Access to child and youth mental health services and supports in Waterloo Region

519-749-2932, and press “1“ to speak to our staff

https://www.frontdoormentalhealth.com/

We can help. We work with parents/caregivers, children and youth (up to their 18th birthday) who are struggling with life’s challenges such as emotions, behaviours, relationships and mental health. We listen, offer support and can help you identify next steps including access to other services.

 
 Provincial
 

ONTX / Distress and Crisis Ontario

Text: 258258

Chat online at www.dcontario.org

Ontario Online & Text Crisis Services (ONTX) helps if someone is in distress, crisis or having suicidal thoughts. Text and online chat service is available 7 days a week from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and interactions are private and confidential. Visit our website for additional resources and services available across the province for 24 hour voice call support.

 

Good2Talk – Ontario Post-Secondary Student Support

1-866-925-5454

Text: GOOD2TALKON to 686868

www.good2talk.ca

Good2Talk is a free, confidential mental health support service providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to postsecondary students in Ontario, 24/7/365.

 

LGBT Youth Line

1-800-268-9688

Text: 647-694-4275

Live chat with a peer support volunteer on www.youthline.ca

Confidential, non-judgemental and informed LGBTTQQ2SI Peer Support through our telephone, text and chat services. Get in touch with a peer support volunteer from Sunday to Friday, 4:00PM to 9:30 PM.

 

Hope for Wellness - Mental health and wellness in First Nations and Inuit communities

1-855-242-3310

Live chat with a counsellor online at www.hopeforwellness.ca

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. Phone and chat counselling is available in English and French. On request, phone counselling is also available in Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut.

 

Tel-aide Outaouais

1-800-567-9699

http://telaideoutaouais.ca/

L’équipe de bénévoles est composée d’écoutants méticuleusement sélectionnés et formés pour l’emploi, l’organisation souhaite que le public compose leur numéro, 365 jours par années, quel que soit le motif, afin d’exprimer ses émotions avec les bénévoles à l’écoute. Nos lignes d'écoutes sont ouvertes 24 h sur 24, 365 jours par année.

 

The Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

1-866-887-0015

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/male_support_services/

Approximately one in six men will experience sexual abuse in their lifetime. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, you are not alone and there is help available. Survivors have access to a 24-hour, multilingual, toll-free phone line for immediate crisis and referral services. Male survivors of sexual abuse also have access to a number of specialized services to help them deal with the impact of abuse, including individual and group counselling, peer support, telephone and online counselling, referrals to other appropriate community support services to meet other long-term needs that clients may have.

 

ConnexOntario

Dial 1-866-531-2600

Chat online at https://www.connexontario.ca/

ConnexOntario provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol and drugs, mental illness and/or gambling. We are funded by the Government of Ontario. Our system navigation and information service is live-answer 24/7, confidential, and free.

 

211Ontario

Dial 2-1-1 or 211’s toll-free line: 1-877-330-3213

Chat online at https://211ontario.ca/

211 is a telephone helpline (call 2-1-1) and website that provides information on and referrals to Ontario’s community, social, health-related and government services. We can help you understand what services and government benefits exist and explain how to apply.  211 is answered 24 hours a day, every day of the year across Ontario. We list over 60,000 community and government programs and services. We also provide an interpreter in over 150 languages. When 211 answers the phone, ask for the language you want and hold the line.

 National
 

Kids Help Phone
1-800-668-6868

Text CONNECT to 686868 to be connected to a trained Kids Help Phone Crisis Responder.

Kids Help Phone is a national, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling and referral service for children and youth.

 

Youth Space

Text 7787830177

Chat online at www.youthspace.ca

Everyone across Canada under 30 years is welcome to chat with us. We are open 6pm-midnight PST, 365 days a year. We are a diverse community of trained volunteers who would love to listen to how things are going for you.

Mental health resources


During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that we take care of ourselves and each other. If you or someone you know needs support, access one of the organizations on the list of mental and spiritual wellness resources in Waterloo Region and COVID-19 and Mental Health

Support to cope with stress, anxiety or grief


If you are experiencing anxiety or stress, or if you just need a general check-in, see the list of organizations that can help you cope.

Food hamper and meals


Vulnerable individuals and families can’t afford to stock up on food for days at a time during the pandemic. People who do not have adequate housing need access to community meals. Others are unable to leave their homes for various reasons but do not have friends or family to help with groceries. The Food Bank of Waterloo Region is coordinating supports to ensure everyone in the region gets the food they need.

Access food services here, including the food bank, emergency food hampers, meal delivery, and community meal programs.

Emergency foster care


During the pandemic, we anticipate some children may need care if their parents become ill with COVID-19. The first approach would be to find members of the extended family or family friends who could provide a temporary home for the children. When that is not possible, experienced caregivers from the community, such as day-care providers, educators, child and youth workers and others who understand the needs of children would be sought out. Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can learn more at www.fosteringkids.ca

Emergency child care


Please note: On January 12th, The Province announced that Ontario students will be returning to in-person learning on Monday, January 17th and Emergency Child Care will end on Friday, January 14th. The demand for Emergency Child Care is extremely high and we currently have a waitlist. To ensure that critical health care services can remain available, we will be prioritizing frontline health care workers, long-term care home staff, and child care staff at this time. Eligible families will be contacted if spaces become available. 

On Monday, January 3, 2022, the Province announced that elementary schools will be shifting to remote learning on January 5th for approximately two weeks. During this time, all before and after school programs will be closed.  

In support of health care and other frontline workers whose children are in school, a limited number of spaces will be available for Emergency Child Care in Waterloo Region. The Ministry of Education will provide funding for these spaces, which will be available at no cost to eligible parents, starting January 10th, 2022.

Emergency Child Care spaces across the region are very limited due to the impacts of the COVID-19 and labour force shortages of child care program staff.  We are doing everything we can to work with child care operators to maximize the available spaces; however, there is not enough spaces to meet the need and we are now maintaining a waitlist. The Region of Waterloo Children’s Services will be prioritizing applications and managing a waiting list.

Who is eligible:

To ensure that critical human services remain available, the Region will prioritize care for children whose parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to work outside of the home and are included in the following prioritized list of workers:

  • frontline health care workers providing in person care (including hospital and acute care staff, medical first responders, pharmacists and pharmacy assistants and community health care workers),
  • frontline police and fire personnel,
  • long term care home employees,
  • individuals working in a homeless shelter or providing services to people experiencing homelessness,
  • frontline workers in congregate care settings,
  • persons working in correctional institutions, and
  • workers essential to frontline child care and education.

Note:  If you are unable to go to work because you cannot access child care, you may be eligible for financial support through the Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit.

How to Apply:

If all parents/guardians in the household are required to work outside of the home and one (or more) parent/guardian is part of the prioritized list of workers, you can sign up to be on the waiting list for Emergency Child Care by completing the online application form.

Locations:

There are Emergency Child Care locations in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Baden. 

Thank you to the following programs for providing Emergency Child Care spaces: Conestoga College, Creative Beginnings, Region of Waterloo Home Child Care, Waterloo Region District School Board, and YMCA of Three Rivers.

Health and Safety Measures:

Emergency Child Care operators follow the health and safety guidelines provided by both the Ministry of Education and our local Public Health. However, even with these strict processes in place, there may be disruptions to service due to the illness of students attending or the staff providing the care.  We encourage all applicants to have a back up plan in the event we have a waitlist for ECC and/or there is an unplanned disruption to service.

Support for Online Learning:

Emergency Child Care (ECC) programs will continue to support the conditions of remote learning by:

  • providing space for learning to occur
  • supporting your child with setting up and logging onto computers/tablets
  • encouraging your child to participate in the learning

There may be times during the day when remote learning cannot be supported due to the varied learning schedules, the physical or emotional needs of the children, as well as the need to ensure that licensed programs are meeting the Ministry of Education’s requirements which includes two hours of outdoor play daily.

This does not mean that children will not continue to learn.  Licensed child care programs provide high-quality, inclusive, play-based learning that supports the health, safety and well-being of all children.  When children are not engaged in remote learning, various other learning opportunities will be available, as well as opportunities for them to connect socially with their peers. 

Contact:

For more information about Emergency Child Care, you can call 519-514-1474 or email ECC@regionofwaterloo.ca

Washrooms for the most vulnerable


Kitchener

Victoria Park
51 David St.
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

St. John's Kitchen
97 Victoria St. North (corner of Weber and Victoria)
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ray of Hope Community Centre
659 King St. East (rear entrance off Stirling Lane)
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  

Waterloo

Adult Recreation Centre
185 King St. S.
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Bridgeport Café, Emmanuel United Church
22 Bridgeport Road West
12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tuesday to Friday (note: proof of vaccination and mask wearing is required)

Waterloo Park Washrooms
Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

  • East Entrance Washrooms, Near the Eby Farmstead Animal Farm
  • Waterloo Skatepark, 100 Father David Bauer Drive
  • West Entrance Washrooms, off Westmount Road

Waterloo Public Library
35 Albert St.
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Cambridge

Region of Waterloo building
150 Main St.
Open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

Ainslie Street GRT terminal
35 Ainslie Street S.
Monday to Friday: 5:15 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Saturday: 6:00 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Sunday and holidays: 7:45 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.

 


Emergency shelter

As part of the Community Support Control Group’s pandemic response, additional supports were put in place during the pandemic for people who are homeless. In addition to the seven emergency shelters currently operating in Waterloo Region, a temporary shelter at the A.R. Kaufman YMCA in Kitchener ran from March 26th to June 29th to replace the overflow space at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener. As recovery continues, participants have been transitioned into other shelters in the region. More information on emergency shelters at Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing.

If you know someone in need of emergency shelter, please connect them to a housing helpline below:

  • Single individuals 18+ across the region can call 519-624-9133 anytime.
  • Youth age 12-17 in Kitchener-Waterloo can call 519-749-1450 (Safe Haven) anytime.
  • Families across the region can call 519-749-2450 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 


Drop-In Programs for People Experiencing Homelessness

Access to housing search supports, showers, washrooms, and water filling stations.

St. John's Kitchen
97 Victoria St. North (corner of Weber and Victoria)
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday

Ray of Hope Community Centre
659 King St. East (rear entrance off Stirling Lane)
Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 
Saturday and Sunday 9:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Cambridge Multi Agency Community Space (MACS)
150 Main St.
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday

Safe Voluntary Isolation Site

If you need a space to isolate to protect yourself or others from COVID-19, consider applying for the Safe Voluntary Isolation Site. The site is a safe place for people to stay to rest and recover, and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within a person's home and in the community. 

 

Animal care


Pets

Livestock

Support is being arranged for farmers who may become too ill to care for livestock due to COVID-19 and who do not have family or friends who can provide assistance. Skilled volunteers will be provided as needed through a livestock commodity group. Owners of hobby farms will be supported by volunteers from the Mennonite Disaster Service Canada.

If you are a hobby farmer and need support, please contact the Mennonite Disaster Service at edm@cyg.net or 519-656-2330. If you operate a production farm, you can contact your commodity group.

Spiritual supports


During the pandemic, it can be difficult for some people to connect with friends, family, neighbours or faith communities to help them cope with hardships. A list of religious and spiritual services has been compiled and is available on the Wellbeing Waterloo Region website.   

Some faith communities may have many members who are older and/or have chronic medical conditions, and it is strongly recommended that provisions be made to enable them to participate in a safe manner. You may wish to continue with online services, either on their own, or in addition to in-person services.

Additional community resources


Many community services have been adapted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See Wellbeing Waterloo Region's list of services, including information for:

  • Children, youth and their caregivers;
  • First Nations, Métis and Inuit people;
  • Immigrants and refugees;
  • LGBTQ2S+ community; and
  • People with disabilities.

About the Community Support Control Group

The Community Support Control Group is made up of representatives from the Region of Waterloo, area municipalities, and community partners. This group is taking action to support the health and safety of vulnerable people and other community members impact by COVID-19.

This group’s mandate is to:

  • Identify populations that may require additional supports during the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Identify the community supports that will be provided to those populations; and
  • Determine which organizations will coordinate and provide those supports. 

The Region of Waterloo is coordinating an Emergency Child Care response program for school aged children beginning April 19th, 2021. The program is being offered at no cost to parents who work in eligible health care and critical frontline services. If one or more parent/guardian is on the list of eligible workers and all parents/ guardians in the household need to work out of the home, emergency child care may be an option.

 

Eligibility requirements, locations of emergency child care and information about how to apply will be updated here, on our website by the end of the day tomorrow. Once the information has been posted if you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to reach out by email to ecc@regionofwaterloo.ca.

 

 

Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturday noon to 1:30 p.m.

Sunday 4:30 to 6 p.m.

 

Contact Us