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Affordable Housing Initiative

Housing Advocacy

Mission

The Graduate Student Association-University of Waterloo (GSA-UW) is committed to fostering a supportive and appropriate environment for all graduate students (see GSA Political Position). One of our many focuses is on housing and providing housing information for incoming and continuing graduate students at the University of Waterloo. On this webpage, we provide information that will support students from finding a new home to informing students of our efforts regarding the issue of housing affordability in Canada and, in particular, the rapid increase of living costs related to housing in our region due to gentrification.

 

If you have any feedback or wish to contact us on housing matters, please do so using the form below.

GSA Research + Action Group

Check out our team and our current research efforts and data on housing. 

Giana Tomas

Astha Priya

Nealob Kakar

Realizing the need for meaningful support, reliable resources, and knowledge to help in my decision-making during my own housing search (all while living away from the Waterloo region) was enough to prompt me to become an active member of this housing advocacy group. From conversations with my co-researchers/co-advocates, I re-imagine student housing to be safe, affordable, comfortable, and liveable. If the way we think of housing is reformed; what it can and should be for students, we will begin to see how housing should be equitable and should contribute to students’ ability to reach their potential in school, while also enjoying life beyond academics. 

Hi, my name is Astha Priya and I’m a Masters student in Sustainability Management. We’ve all seen what’s in the news – Canada is going through an affordable housing crisis. Our community at Waterloo isn’t far from facing the struggles that come from this volatile, complex market. Adequate housing for all is a pressing sustainable development issue, and I am passionate about working towards ensuring that it is accessible to all. Hence, with the housing action and research group, I hope to support, aid, educate and advocate for affordable housing initiatives for our graduate students! Because, adequate housing isn’t a hot commodity, it’s a human right we all deserve. This is the future we deserve!

Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss anything or have any questions! Thanks and take care!

I was moved to pursue this advocacy position due to my lived experience with student housing challenges and the need for community change. I was motivated to be involved as a researcher as it provided the opportunity to engage in meaningful, and transformative community-led research that has advanced discussions, contributions, engagement, and the potential to create needed change for Affordable Housing from the ground up. Ultimately, I envision the future of housing for graduate students to be one that is accessible, equitable, inclusive, and imagined with community at the center.

Check our past and current research efforts and data on housing. 

Research: Municipal Housing Issues, August 2020

This research conducted by graduate students provided an overview of housing-related challenges experienced by graduate students at the University of Waterloo (UW) and summarized recent actions taken by the university administration as well as local governments. It includes information, conclusions and recommendations to help inform potential revisions to the Graduate Student Association (GSA) Council’s political positions and future dialogue between the GSA, university administration and government. See the research report.

Survey: Housing Experience, January 2021

This survey was conducted in collaboration between GSA and WUSA to identify what difficulties students may be having in relation to their housing experience and to determine how together we can support safe and affordable housing.  The GSA-UW aims to use the data to assist in advocacy and research efforts to bolster the Municipal Housing Issues research. This is one more step in our advocacy initiative that helps to direct resources to action priority recommendations of the report and identify further supports to overcome grad student housing issues. See here the report and presentation

Research & Action Group 

The Graduate Student Association (GSA-UW) is committed to fostering a supportive, healthy and safe, reliable environment for all graduate students during their time at UWaterloo, inclusive of affordable housing (see GSA Political Position).

To that end, we are forming a housing research and action group that can support our advocacy strategies for affordable and proper housing in Waterloo Region. This group will also support the GSA-UW’s advocacy efforts directed towards improving municipal resources and support for students and the UWaterlooo’s initiatives for housing in the region.

Researchers: 

  • Giana Tomas, Ph.D. Student in Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Astha Priya, Masters Student in Sustainability Management
  • Nealob Kakar, Masters Student in Public Service

Your Search for Housing

You can start your search for a new place to live in Waterloo using these resources. Here you will find information resources, and websites you can use to do your search. (The GSA does not endorse these resources but these are common search tools that students use to navigate the on-campus and off-campus housing market).

Off-Campus Housing

Services offered: Rental listings database, support in finding sublets and temporary accommodations, classifieds area to find roommates, various important information (tenant rights, tips for finding housing, dealing with problems that arise, safety)

Contact/Access: housing@uwaterloo.ca, 519-888-4567 ext. 32679, https://uwaterloo.ca/off-campus-housing/

Campus Housing

Services offered: Variety of different style living accommodations on campus available for students. Meal plans are also available depending on the residence. Many graduate students who live on campus apply to live at Columbia Lake Village, a townhouse community that accommodates students of all years and their families. 

Contact/Access: housing@uwaterloo.ca, 519-888-4567 ext. 32679, https://uwaterloo.ca/campus-housing/residences

St. Paul’s University College

Services offered: Variety of suites and graduate student apartments available for rent. Meal plans and hotel style rooms for guests are also available. 

Contact/Access: stpauls@uwaterloo.ca, 519-885-1460, https://uwaterloo.ca/stpauls/suites-private-rooms-grad-apartments

Note: We strongly encourage students to look at reviews online, talk to other students, and research any rental companies or landlords before signing a lease with them.

Services offered: Rental opportunities for students.

Services offered: Affordable housing options through the municipality for those who are Canadian citizens or have started a claim for permanent residency. Priority access goes to those who have experienced domestic violence, human trafficking, or severe illness.

Contact/Accesshttps://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/

Legal & Tenant Rights

Know your rights! Use the links below to know your rights as a tenant and what the legal support you have as a graduate student – one of the many services offered by GSA 😉 

Through a partner law firm and StudentCare coverage, full-time and part-time Waterloo graduate students have access to a legal consultation service to consult a duly certified lawyer in their province of study regarding any legal question via a toll-free legal assistance helpline. The Legal Protection Program also includes further counsel should students qualify for legal representation. Representation can be for academic, employment and housing disputes. Call the toll-free legal assistance helpline (1-833-202-4571). Details of this coverage are here.

Services offered: Help finding a lawyer and access to free or discounted legal services for those with no income or are new to Canada.

Contact/Access: 1-800-668-8258  https://www.legalaid.on.ca/services/how-do-i-apply-for-legal-aid/

Services offered: Official Ontario regulations that outline your rights as a tenant

Contact/Access: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17 . For a quicker review, check out this page offered by Off-Campus Housing at the University of Waterloo: https://uwaterloo.ca/off-campus-housing/students or this page from the Ontario government: https://www.ontario.ca/page/renting-ontario-your-rights

Services offered: Helps resolve issues that arise between tenants (renters) and landlords. A good resource to contact to ask all questions related to your rights as a tenant or to file a dispute against your landlord for violating those rights.

Contact/Access: 1-888-332-3234, https://tribunalsontario.ca/en/

Housing-Related Services

The GSA does not endorse these resources but these are common search tools that students use to navigate the on-campus and off-campus housing market.

City of Waterloo Website:

https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/regional-government/housing.aspx

Follow the City of Waterloo on Instagram: instagram.com/citywaterloo

waterloo.ca/rentalsupport

Lutherwood:

Services offered: Hosts a families in transition program for those who are seeking emergency shelter due to the risk of experiencing homelessness as well as a housing support drop in service.

Contact: fitreferrals@lutherwood.ca, 519-749-2450,  https://www.lutherwood.ca/housing/families-in-transition-fit

Fire Prevention and Safety Tips: https://www.waterloo.ca/en/living/prevention-and-safety.aspx#

Information on Drinking Water in Waterloo Region: https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/health-and-wellness/drinking-water.aspx

Information on Radon Gas in Your Home: https://takeactiononradon.ca/ontario/

Information on Carbon Monoxide Detection: https://www.oafc.on.ca/carbon-monoxide

Common Household Pest Identification: https://www.pestend.ca/household-pests-in-ontario/

Pest Control Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2p92jycb

Heating and Air Conditioning Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2bccyuxd

Electrician Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/y23hnbte

Locksmith Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2nn6mwy3

*Please note that the responsibility of dealing with pest issues and other issues that arise in a rental are in many cases held by the landlord and not the tenant. We strongly encourage all students to understand their rights before putting money out for residential fixes.

Home Security Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2hu48xhx

Internet Providers in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/bdzkvdb2

Cleaning Services in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2hxkdm8j

Moving Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2p87jbvm

Storage Companies in Waterloo: https://tinyurl.com/2p8j75ku

Living Affordably

The GSA does not endorse these resources but these are common search tools that students use to navigate the on-campus and off-campus housing market.

Emergency Shelters

Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing

Waterloo Region:

Services offered: A safe place for people to stay if they are experiencing homelessness.

Contact:   Housing helpline: 519-624-9133 https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/living-here/emergency-shelters-and-transitional-housing.aspx#Kitchener

Kitchener:

House of Friendship: 519-742-8327

Lutherwood Safe Haven Emergency Shelter: 519-749-1450 ext. 2240

OneROOF Youth Services Shelter (ages 16-25): 519-742-2788

YW Emergency Shelter: 519-744-0120

Cambridge:

The Cambridge Shelter: 519-624-9305

Last Updated: July 29, 2022

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