Kathy Vassilakos

United Way welcomes new director of United Housing

United Way Perth-Huron is proud to announce Kathy Vassilakos as the new director of United Housing.

“We’re pleased to have Kathy join us,” said Ryan Erb, United Way executive director. “She brings an incredible breadth of experience and a commitment to public service to this role. We welcome her to the UWPH team.

“As our community continues to see so many people experiencing the effects of the current housing crisis, it’s important we continue building United Housing. I look forward to working with Kathy on new and existing housing projects and securing the $543,000 in funding we need to ensure United Housing, alongside many partners, achieves our community goal of a place to live for every person in Perth-Huron.”

“I’m excited to take on the director’s role with United Housing,” said Ms. Vassilakos. “Getting new, affordable housing built is critical to the health of our region. Through my time on Stratford City Council, I’ve seen the significant amount of work being done by both the City of Stratford and the County of Huron as the Consolidated Municipal Service Managers responsible for delivering and administering housing programs and services to our region. We believe that United Housing is a perfect vehicle to support the existing work and further increase the amount of available, affordable housing stock.”

Ms. Vassilakos brings a wide-ranging skillset to the director’s role. In her time as a city councillor in Stratford, she not only worked within the community, but across municipalities and provincially. Highlights included time on the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s housing taskforce, the Grand Trunk Master Plan and the Britannia Street Housing Project in Stratford. Kathy has also served on many boards and committees including as co-chair of UWPH’s Social Research & Planning Council and chair of Huron Perth Public Health.

“Ultimately, the only way we can address this housing crisis is by coming together as a community,” added Vassilakos. “Everyone — developers, government, non-profits and the larger community — must join in the effort. So much foundational work has already been done on United Housing thanks to Ryan and Mitch. I look forward to getting out into our region and furthering discussions with our local partners around how we can get people housed.” 

As Kathy Vassilakos ramps up her work on United Housing, United Way also celebrates the contributions of outgoing director, Mitchell Rhodes.

“We’d like to extend our gratitude to Mitch for his work,” added Erb. “Over the past two-plus years, he has been an incredible collaborator in helping build the United Housing initiative. His knowledge of the non-profit housing space, and his willingness to help however was needed to build our initiative, has been invaluable. We’re also glad to announce Mitch has agreed to stay on part-time as a senior consultant with United Housing.” 

“It was an honour and privilege to work at United Way,” said Rhodes. “Addressing the housing deficit — and more acutely the affordable housing deficit — is the issue of our time and we all must be part of the solution. Studies show that without a strong, local non-profit housing developer, affordable housing needs will not be met. I’m proud that, along with colleagues and community support, we were able to move United Housing from being an idea of how we can help address the housing crisis locally, to the reality of projects in the pipeline that will bring affordable housing units to our communities. I’m excited to see work continue under Kathy’s leadership.”

For more on the United Housing initiative, GO HERE.

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