2021 Budget prioritizes investment in gendered experience of homelessness
HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton is investing an additional $950,000 in annual funding towards a new shelter focused on addressing the unique needs of women, Indigenous women, trans-feminine, trans-masculine, and non-binary people experiencing homelessness.
The investment, if approved as part of the City of Hamilton 2021 Budget deliberations, will help meet the demands for beds and supports in the women’s homelessness system and ensure services in Hamilton are responsive to a person’s individualized experience of homelessness impacted by intersecting aspects of their identities related to race, gender, and sexual orientation. The new shelter will exceed and replace the beds lost through the closure of Mountainview Shelter.
Recognizing that emergency shelters are a temporary solution to a larger systemic issue, the City remains focused on balancing response to emergency shelter needs in the community, while also advancing long-term permanent solutions to housing pressures and getting and sustaining people housed with supports. Safe, affordable housing is a critical determinant of the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities which is why addressing homelessness and affordable housing remains a top priority for the City of Hamilton, and for this term of Council. This investments builds on the City’s strategic goals to address housing and homelessness challenges throughout the city in alignment with Hamilton’s 10 year Housing & Homelessness Action Plan (January 2020).
In alignment with the Housing & Homelessness Action Plan, the City’s Housing Services Division coordinates strategies, aligns community assets, social supports, policies and programs and administers on average $120 million annually in projects and services with a goal that everyone in Hamilton has a home. The City continues to leverage all opportunities and partnerships available to support the unmet housing and health needs of our community across the housing continuum. This includes investments in homelessness system in response to community needs and the pandemic, as well as ensuring critical supports like housing stability benefits, rent supplements and coordinating wrap around community supports to keep people housed and prevent homelessness. Additionally, this includes accelerating the building of net new social housing units –and bringing units back online through maintenance.
City Council will formally approve the City of Hamilton’s 2021 Budget on March 31, 2021.
- Hamilton’s housing system administration is funded by all levels of government and allocates and invests approximately $120 million annually into the housing and homelessness system including a $64 million municipal contribution in 2021.
- In 2021/2022 at least 400 new affordable housing units in Hamilton will break ground or be completed of due to strategic investment on the part of the municipal, provincial and federal government.
- In 2020 over 700 households from Hamilton’s Access to Housing wait list were housed in rent-geared to income units, in the private market using portable housing benefits, and from intensive case management and Rapid Rehousing programs.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic through the Government of Ontario’s Social Service Relief funds the City directed $37 million into the housing and homelessness system response ensuring shelter operators could enact important COVID-19 protocols to reduce the risk of transmission for shelter clients and staff, including physical distancing measures, use of personal protective equipment, rapid testing and surveillance, temporarily doubling shelter system capacity expanding the number of beds the system using unconventional spaces, implementing and staffing isolation shelter space(s) in response to the demands of the pandemic and outbreaks. These funds also ensured community drop-in programs could expand and maintain services for vulnerable residents from meals, showers, harm reduction supplies, and overnight access drop-in services.
Ensuring we have inclusive and responsive services that meet the needs of the community is a critical factor in the City’s social and economic future. This investment speaks to the City’s ongoing commitment to providing good quality and stable housing through annual and ongoing financial contributions to housing and homelessness.Mayor Fred Eisenberger