June 10 2021
HAMILTON, ON – On June 9, 2021, Hamilton Council approved further interventions in its post-COVID adaptation and transition plan for Hamilton’s housing and homelessness system which includes a one-time investment of $2 million for housing allowances for clients of City funded Intensive Case Management (ICM) programs.
This investment will provide 93 individuals or households with housing allowances ensuring for housing stability over the next four years. In addition to the continuation of enhanced supports for Hamilton’s homeless-servicing system during COVID-19 including isolation services for people experiencing homelessness, and the continuation of funding for enhanced drop-in services for local agencies.
“Following the ratification of the June 9, 2021, Council report, Emergency & Community Services Committee and City Council have furthered the commitment to funding strategic interventions within Hamilton’s housing and homelessness system. The recommendations approved yesterday allow us to continue to work collectively with a wide range of community partners to address the immediate needs of unsheltered and unhoused Hamiltonians, while addressing long-term strategies for permanent housing and supports. Through this, our systems response is better resourced over time to adequately support the transition away from expanded emergency measures created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to a more responsive, resilient, sustainable and housing-focused homeless-serving system.”
- Edward John, Director Housing Services
The investments will enable the City to continue to work collectively with a wide range of community partners to address the immediate needs of unsheltered and unhoused Hamiltonians, while addressing long-term strategies for permanent housing and supports. Through this, the system is better resourced over time to adequately support the transition away from expanded emergency measures created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to a more responsive, resilient, sustainable and housing-focused homeless-serving system.
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). The City will continue to explore and implement strategies to improve housing affordability and meet unmet housing needs through Hamilton’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan, and will continue to maximize all opportunities available and advance a number of initiatives underway to support the housing needs of vulnerable members of our community. This includes:
- Continued investment in the provision and expansion of emergency shelter accommodations and drop in programs in response to immediate needs in the community during the pandemic;
- Implementing successful shelter diversion programs and building resiliency in the housing system by ensuring critical housing stability supports like housing stability benefits, rent supplements and eviction prevention resources are there to support successful tenancy, keep people housed and prevent homelessness;
- Accelerating the building of new social housing units, and bringing units back online through maintenance;
- Exploring and advancing opportunities to increase the supply of affordable units across the city in the private market.
“Safe, affordable housing – including meeting the needs of unsheltered and unhoused residents through continuity of service while supporting long-term housing stability for vulnerable residents remains a top priority for Hamilton City Council. This investment supports our continued efforts across the housing continuum to ensure everyone has a home. Careful planning, management, and response within the housing and homelessness system continues to be a priority in response to the pandemic which will be a critical factor in the City’s social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Mayor Fred Eisenberger
- 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.
- In 2021, the City committed an additional $950,000 in annual funding (year over year) towards a new shelter focused on addressing the unique needs of women, Indigenous women, trans-feminine, trans-masculine, and non-binary community members experiencing homelessness.
- 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.
- Emergency & Community Services Committee Report 21-006
- Coming Together to End Homelessness – Hamilton’s Systems Planning Framework
- Term of Council Priorities 2018-2022