220 to 234 Village Road
16 three-bedroom duplexes, (8 units each with an upper/lower level), gas heat, HRV in lower units, no A/C
No smoking, two-car parking in shared driveway, some carpet in upper units, hard surface in lower units, appliances included fridge, stove, washer, dryer, shared backyard, the upper unit has a wood deck, the lower unit has a designated backyard cement patio.
For information related to vacancies, contact:
Phone: (519) 578-6077 (Joanne Coles ext.5)
Tenants are responsible for their own utilities. (water, gas, electricity) Units are individually metered. A deposit with Enova Power and Kitchener Utilities may be required for new accounts. While these are no smoking buildings, some existing tenants are grandfathered. Tenants are responsible for their own content insurance.
In late 2001, the Region of Waterloo put out a call to groups interested in affordable housing saying they had funding available for family housing. Beyond Housing made an “Expression of Interest” and was approved. The search for property on which to build began. At this time, Faith Lutheran Church on Village Road in the Forest Hill area of Kitchener was planning a change to their building to improve accessibility and decided instead to build a new sanctuary. The project would be funded by the sale of a large piece of land at the back of their property.
Church leaders met with Beyond Housing on a number of occasions and a plan was developed to build a multi-residential housing unit on the land. “We thought this was a good fit,” said Pastor Hamp. “We could have sold the land to someone who would have built monster homes on the lots.” However, as Pastor Hamp said, “We ran into a bit of a struggle with our neighbours. We had a lot of phone calls from neighbours worrying and complaining about what it would do to their neighbourhood, to house values.” A series of meetings with community members followed, with angry words and even threats, but the situation remained deadlocked and intense until finally, one neighbourhood resident Wendy Shaw became a bridge between the two sides. She met with each of her 66 neighbours who had opposed the project and who planned to take their grievances to the Ontario Municipal Board. Wendy brought the concerns of the neighbours to Beyond Housing. This resulted in Beyond Housing changing the design and reducing the number of units, as well as guaranteeing long-term, active involvement with the project to ensure that it would be well-integrated into the neighbourhood.
Tenants moved into the eight duplexes on Village Road in July and August 2004. They were met by the Beyond Housing Community Support Worker and were each given a handmade quilt. One resident said of the quilts she was given, “I appreciate every hour, every stitch and every thought that was put into those blankets. I will cherish them for the rest of my life.”
Dorene, the Community Support Worker, met with the residents on a regular basis. “There were a number of new Canadian families and we wanted to make sure they were aware of various agencies in the community. As a board, we wanted to develop a sense of community among the families. We held a barbecue in the summer and a Christmas dinner (where we recognized Ramadan and other holidays).” A tenant said of the Community Worker role, “No matter what the need, whether it be a ride, food, clothing, community information, or simply a shoulder to cry on, she is there. Because many of us have been isolated from our families and hometowns, every bit of inclusion and support is meaningful.”
Five years after the Village Road project was completed, Wendy Shaw, who had acted as a bridge between Beyond Housing and its neighbours, reflected on the experience. “We are now all part of the same neighbourhood, where people say hello to one another as they walk up the sidewalk, and take the time to talk about anything from gardening to grandchildren. Anyone who moves into our neighbourhood would have no idea of the controversy that originally existed with the idea of building The Village on our street.” She adds, “The Village on Village Road is a good example of how working together we can accomplish something that is good for all people in the neighbourhood.”