Waterloo is home
Welcome to the 11th edition of Neighbours helping Neighbours, a weekly newsletter from the neighbourhoods team, with a focus on good news stories, important community updates and an ever growing list of support resources.

Eid Mubarak to all celebrating! There's a lot to be thankful for these days - warmer weather (some of us have been waiting for this!), connections with others, a caring community and much more!

If you have ideas for resources to share or shareable stories of kindness, please send them to: neighbourhoods@waterloo.ca

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Hey Neighbour!
One of the City of Waterloo’s neighbourhood strategy goals over the next several years is to build new connections between neighbours. Caring and compassionate neighbours contribute to quality of life, and during the pandemic we have seen neighbours sharing and providing important support to each other.

The newly launched Hey Neighbour! program has been created to help neighbours build and maintain connections to strengthen a sense of community.

We are seeking interested residents to take a neighbourhood leadership role as Block Connectors to spark these new connections. A Block Connector is someone who helps neighbours residing in close proximity to each other to share information, support one another, and build a sense of community in good times and challenging ones. During the pandemic these connections will largely happen online, via social media or email lists.

Full requirements are posted on the Neighbourhoods webpage.

Email us for further information.
Waterloo extends financial relief measures to assist residents and businesses
City of Waterloo Council has approved the extension of COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan valued at approximately $550,000 for the month of June to continue assisting residents and businesses dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This brings the total Economic Relief Plan to over $1.8 million, when including the financial relief measures that were previously approved for April and May.

The plan includes:
  • Waiving late payment charges on property taxes, water and wastewater utility bills and all other residential and non-residential accounts receivable for June 2020;
  • This includes payments to the city for permits, licenses, rents and any other amounts due in June
  • Waive Non Sufficient Funds (NSF) fees charged on customer accounts for June 2020;
  • Suspend all collection efforts until August 2020;
  • Waiving Uptown monthly parking permit fees for the month of June 2020;
  • Staff to develop an application-based property tax deferral program to extend 2020 final property tax due dates by 60 days for residents and businesses who qualify;
  • $9,500 in financial support for the Uptown Waterloo BIA Graffiti Removal program
  • $5,000 in financial support for Additional Neighbourhood Support
  • Three months of relief for the Business Licences Renewal Fee; and
  • Waive the Portable Sign permit fee until the end of August 2020

At-Home Garden Kits are Off and Growing!
Recipients of the at-home garden program are now growing fresh tomatoes, mint, basil, and kale at home in their yards or on their balconies or porches across Waterloo. Garden kit pick-up was this Saturday and many households were excited to get started.
A few ways community members shared the program will contribute to their health and well-being include:

“This time is so stressful for everybody. Gardening helps me to calm myself down. Also, it is so important to show our children how to plant and take care of plants.”

I've always wanted to start a garden but I don’t know how. It's so good to know the city is helping to overcome that block to enable that it is possible.”

“My family has been struggling with being stuck at home and we have many setbacks. We are experiencing job loss and missed life milestones. Getting outside to do something is so important.”
“It will provide an opportunity for the family to work on a project together. My kids have never planted anything and watched it grow before.”
Heart Beats Hate in Lakeshore North
Lakeshore North residents are sharing the “Heart Beats Hate” message to let neighbours know their community is strong, connected, and welcoming. Laura, a resident of the area, organized a bulk order of the signs for porch pick-up to make it easy for interested neighbours to participate in spreading this message of positivity.  
Wearing a mask on transit
Grand River Transit customers are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering while riding transit. This might include a:
  • Fabric mask
  • Bandana
  • Scarf covering the mouth and nose

Wearing a non-medical mask helps protect those around you, even if you have no symptoms. A mask helps reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in settings where physical distancing is challenging.
At home gardening tips from the Waterloo Horticultural Society
Waterloo Horticultural Society past president Kathy Pearson writes, "Kale is a very pretty plant and is regarded as an excellent food crop. It grows easily from seed in partial to full sun. It is a 'cut and come again' plant meaning you can harvest mature leaves from the plant and it will go on producing more leaves. I remove flowers as they form buds."

A really awesome thing about kale is it can survive our winters as the one pictured above. If you have a hardy plant, leave it standing in the fall and you may have it again next year.

Kale can be eaten raw however the leaves are tougher than some. There are methods of massaging them with flavoured oil before adding to a salad. You can also chop your kale a add it to soup, stews, smoothies and stir-fries. The chopped kale can be frozen for future use.

Stay tuned for the at home gardening tips in next week's edition!
National AccessAbility Week from June 1 to June 5
"Life Made Accessible" is a virtual series discussing topics about living with a disability. Come Listen, Ask & Learn from local experts, who are people living with a disability, for one (or all five) of our webinars in honor of National AccessAbility Week from June 1 to June 5.

  • June 1, from 1-2 p.m.: What is accessibility, the AODA, and how you can make your workplace and businesses more inclusive? Come Listen, Ask & Learn from people who have disabilities.
  • June 2, from 1-2 p.m.: Living in isolation is not a new phenomenon; Come Listen, Ask & Learn about the connection between COVID-19, mental health and people living with disabilities.
  •  June 3, from 1-2 p.m.: The labour of living with a disability; Listen, Ask & Learn about the day-to-day living with a disability.
  • June 4, from 1-2 p.m.: Disability within the family; Listen, Ask & Learn how disability affects relationships between spouses, siblings, parents and their children.
  • June 5, from 1-2 p.m.: Experiencing disability; our panelists will share their personal stories and experiences living with disability.

Coordinated COVID-19 Response Newsletter - May 22, 2020
These weekly newsletters keep everyone informed about
the coordinated response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. The Region, area municipalities and local community partners are meeting regularly to make sure pandemic response efforts
are coordinated and aligned.

 Stay tuned for the next edition of Waterloo Neighbourhoods.
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Waterloo Neighbourhoods is published throughout the year to keep residents informed about the good things happening in neighbourhoods across Waterloo. If you have any questions or comments, please call 519-747-8515 or email communications@waterloo.ca . If you’re reading Waterloo Neighbourhoods as a non-subscriber, visit our subscription page to sign up for future editions.

The City of Waterloo is committed to providing accessible formats and communications support for persons with disabilities. If another format would work better for you, please let us know by calling 519-747-8515 or by emailing us at communications@waterloo.ca .