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Ontario Supports Mental Health and Addictions in Waterloo Region

Province providing targeted investment for House of Friendship.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 December 2, 2022

WATERLOO REGION –  As part of Ontario’s new Mental Health and Addictions strategy, the province has committed to operationalizing the Roadmap to Wellness with one-time funding to support service providers through 2022-2023. House of Friendship will receive $1,600,000 to support complex mental health and addiction initiatives in alignment with the Roadmap throughout Waterloo Region

“I am extremely pleased that our government continues to support mental health and addictions services in Waterloo Region,” said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. “The House of Friendship has served our communities and helped individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness for generations. With this funding, House of Friendship will be able to continue to deliver assistance through their proven wrap-around service ShelterCare model.”

“The House of Friendship provides vital services to over 42,000 of Waterloo Region’s most vulnerable residents – those in need of food, housing, community support, or addiction treatment. That said, only two years ago the House of Friendship shelter program was facing closure for the first time in 82 years of operation. Thankfully, it was saved by a massive grant of $8.5 million from our provincial government, which enabled the purchase of a new building.” said Jess Dixon, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-South Hespeler. “Today, House of Friendship has again been chosen as the recipient of incredibly generous provincial funding – $1.6 million to address complex mental health issues in the Region.”

Every year, more than one million Ontarians experience mental health concerns or addiction. This can have a serious impact on their quality of life and that of everyone around them. It can reduce their ability to go to school, make a living or raise a family.

“This funding will benefit those in Waterloo Region in need of mental health or addictions support,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This targeted investment for House of Friendship will help ensure residents have access to the care and services they need, where and when they need them.”

“Today’s funding announcement is the final piece we need to provide integrated health supports within our ShelterCare program, to address underlying health issues so men can get back on their feet and become successfully housed,” said John Neufeld, Executive Director, House of Friendship. “We’re grateful to the Province of Ontario for recognizing the importance of meeting their healthcare needs within shelter, and by doing so, keeping these individuals out of emergency rooms.”

“Today’s provincial investment is an important step in addressing the range of mental health and addictions challenges across our region,” said Karen Redman, Chair of the Region of Waterloo. “As the House of Friendship has shown through their work, links between housing providers and the broader healthcare system are essential to addressing these needs throughout our community.”

“The health and well-being of all of our residents play a key role in what makes our community so vibrant, however, every day, we see many residents struggling with mental health, addictions and a number of other disorders,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “I am pleased to learn that the Province of Ontario, as part of the Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario’s new Mental Health and Addictions strategy, will be investing in the House of Friendship. This funding will support complex mental health cases in the City of Kitchener and across area municipalities, allowing the House of Friendship to continue providing these critical services directly to their clients in a safe, welcoming and barrier-free manner.”

This one-time funding is to sustain and enhance capacity in mental health and addictions (MHA) services and supports, specifically within the community mental health, addictions, eating disorders, complex mental illness sectors, and Indigenous programs, with additional targeted investments for system enablers.

As funding is one-time in nature, investments would be targeted to ensure no out-year cost implications are created, such as training, equipment, and supplies, enhancing service delivery spaces, and software licenses.


  • With the launch and implementation of Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario will develop a mental health and addictions system that makes high-quality services available for people throughout their lifetime, where and when they need them.
  • Roadmap to Wellness will benefit all Ontarians, including children and youth, Indigenous people, Francophones, first responders, students, individuals who are justice-involved and people experiencing homelessness. It will enable a system that can more effectively respond to everyone’s needs, whether they have a mild to moderate mental health issue or are challenged by a serious and significant illness.
  • The new Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence within Ontario Health will serve as the foundation on which Roadmap to Wellness is built and will enable and drive the effective implementation of the plan’s four pillars – areas of focus that, executed together, will support the delivery of the services people need, where and when they need them.
  • Learn more about affordable housing in Ontario and find your local service manager to see what housing supports are available in your community.
  • The Regional Municipality of Waterloo has been allocated over $35 million through Ontario’s Social Services Relief Fund which is designed to help municipal service managers and Indigenous program administrators deliver critical services such as shelters, food banks, funding for rental arrears and housing.
  • Ontario has provided $147 million to help expand access to the provincial mental health and addictions system in every community. This funding builds on the province’s $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province.