Housing Support Programs

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. 

Supports to achieving stability 

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.

Housing support options

The Region offers housing support through two programs:

Supportive Housing (onsite support)

Funded through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and administered by the Region of Waterloo, 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 support)

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 or kiosk 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. 

Other options for housing with support                                  

Below are a list of other supportive housing options in the community. For a full list that you can search by city or keyword, visit www.isearchmycommunity.ca.

If you are looking for affordable housing without supports, visit the Region's Find Affordable Housing page.

Older adults/retirement 
Sunnyside Supportive Housing

Waterloo-Wellington Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)

Physical disability

Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region 

Traverse Independence (acquired brain injury)

DeafBlind Ontario

Developmental disability
Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) Central West
Mental health and addictions
Here 24/7

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