Help to Find and Keep a Home

The Region and our community partners offer varied levels of support to people who need help finding and keeping a home. This ranges from self-directed help that you can access online to in-home support. If you need a place to stay right away, an emergency shelter can be a safe option while you work to find a stable home.

Self-directed housing help

If you are looking for a place or are a tenant, the Renter's Toolkit can help you search for and secure housing; help you deal with issues that come up as a tenant; or help you plan your next move. In this guide, you will find:

  • Answers to common questions about finding and keeping a home.
  • Audio, videos, and direct links to resources that can help.
  • Tip sheets you can print and take with you.
  • Work sheets to guide you through your renting journey.

One-on-one housing help

Lutherwood is a non-profit agency that invites you to drop in for help. Staff can help you find a place to live, problem solve, and connect you to supports to meet your housing needs. 

See Lutherwood's Housing Support Drop-in Services for a full list of Lutherwood's housing supports and services.

Help to avoid an eviction

Lutherwood Housing advisors can help you avoid an eviction by:

Help with your rent deposit

If you need to move to a new place but can't afford last month's rent, you can apply for a grant or loan through a Housing Advisor at Lutherwood. 

Housing support for people with a history of homelessness

Housing support programs help lower the risk of returning to homelessness. Through these programs, a support worker meets with tenants in their home to help them stay housed and improve their overall quality of life. 

How it works 

Through housing support for people with a history of homelessness, tenants meet with a support worker often to:

  • Identify areas in their life where they need the most support to keep their home
  • Build skills that will help them stay housed
  • Connect to other services that can help (mental health support, for example)
  • Set goals around staying housed and helping to build independence

This support is not specialized mental health support, crisis support, therapeutic counselling, or medical support. Where these types of support are needed, support workers help people access the appropriate systems that specialize in these supports.

This type of support is offered in one of two ways:

Supportive Housing (onsite)

The focus of the Supportive Housing program is to provide affordable housing to people with a history of homelessness, to help them build skills and connect to supports that will help them to keep their housing and reduce their risk of returning to homelessness.

The Supportive Housing program provides affordable housing with support to stay housed through onsite support staff. Providers offer a mix of bachelor, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units in apartment buildings, or private and semi-private bedrooms in residential homes or retirement homes. The program serves a broad range of people including individuals, couples, youth, and families with some buildings serving men only, women only, and older adults.

In addition to housing support coordination, all providers offer social and recreational activities. Providers may also offer additional supports such as independent living skills, medication management, food support, peer support, and retirement setting supports. Buildings are typically single-staffed and staff may not always be present onsite (e.g., out at appointments, meeting with other tenants, on-call).

Portable Home-Based Support (mobile)

The Portable Home-Based Support program provides housing support coordination to help people find and keep housing of their choice in the private rental market. There is a ratio of approximately 10 people to each support worker. Support is not available 24/7. Depending on the level of support needed, shorter-term support of three to six months or longer-term support of 12 to 18 months is provided. As part of a Support Plan, staff link participants with longer-term supports from other community systems as needed (e.g., mental health and addiction, developmental, or health care supports).

Key Principles and Practices of the Portable Home-Based Support Program:

  • Use a progressive engagement approach with a focus on "doing with" rather than "doing for"
  • Apply Housing First principles:
  • Immediate access to housing with no readiness conditions
  • Consumer choice and self-determination
  • Recovery orientation
  • Individualized and person-driven supports
  • Social community Integration
Who is eligible

To be eligible for housing support, you must have:

  • Currently living without permanent housing
  • Lived in Waterloo Region for at least one year (now or in the past)
  • A need for support to help you stay housed (determined using an assessment tool)
  • Given consent to be added to the wait list

How to apply

Visit a Lutherwood Housing Resource Centre in Kitchener or Cambridge.

The Region's Prioritized Access to Housing Support (PATHS) process coordinates access to housing support programs. This includes portable home-based support and supportive housing funded by the Region. It also includes other housing and/or support options funded by our partners. 

Applicants on the PATHS list are organized based on priority; people who have the highest support needs and the longest experience of homelessness are first to be offered housing support.

Once someone is on the PATHS list, they will be contacted so that we can further understand their housing needs and preferences.

Immediate access to supportive housing is not available through PATHS. There is more need for these supports than resources available. 


Homemaking support 

The Region of Waterloo funds agencies to provide support to people who need some support with completing chores and errands so that they can continue to live on their own.

How it works 

The Region provides funding to agencies in the community that come into your home to provide services, including:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Laundry
  • Grocery shopping
Who is eligible

You may qualify for this program if you:

  • Live in Waterloo Region
  • Meet the financial criteria
  • Need help in your home because you are ill, recovering from an illness or injury, are elderly or have a disability
How to apply 

Please note, this program has a wait list of about three to four years, with the exception of special circumstances.

To apply for services, please call the program coordinator at 519-893-8494, extension 6342.

The coordinator will visit your home to go over your service needs, income and expenses (including your spouse and dependents, if you have any). This will help determine if you are eligible.

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