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City invests $1 million towards Rent Ready Program

HAMILTON, ON – In response to a Council Motion approved in December 2020, the City is investing $1 million equally towards the rapid repair of out of service social housing units, and increasing the 2021 Housing Stability Benefit budget to support tenants at risk of losing housing due to impacts of COVID-19.

A $500,000 investment across eight social housing providers is enabling 53 chronically vacant social housing units in need of extensive repair to be more quickly restored and rent ready in 2021. These units required significant repair and maintenance including plumbing, walls, electrical, and in one case a multi-purpose room being renovated into a new unit. This investment not only ensures more units are more quickly available for those on Hamilton’s Access to Housing wait list, but also helps offset financial pressures for social housing providers, and increases the period of affordability for the units. In 2021, $4,375,000 will be invested specifically by the City of Hamilton towards social housing repairs supporting quicker turnaround of vacant units, bringing chronically offline units back online, and supporting energy retrofits. This includes a $2 million contribution in 2021 from the City of Hamilton’s Poverty Reduction Fund commitment of $20 million over 10 years investment towards social housing repair.

$500,000 allocated to a “rent bank” through the Housing Stability Benefit budget which will support housing stability to more residents who may be impacted by the loss of employment or federal benefits due to the pandemic and who may face eviction due to missed rent payments. Ultimately this will help people maintain their housing and prevent homelessness.

This investment 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 remains focused on balancing response to emergency needs in the community, sustaining people’s housing with supports, and advancing long-term permanent solutions to Hamilton’s housing pressures. 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 the homelessness system in response to community needs and the pandemic, as well as ensuring critical supports like housing stability benefits, rent supplements and coordinated 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.

“Through the creativity of staff, community partners and committee members and prudent fiscal management of the City’s Housing and Homelessness portfolio, the City has advanced important long-term initiatives while balancing the current emergency response in our community. This investment illustrates our commitment to developing safe and affordable housing with the right supports through Hamilton’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan” - Mayor Fred Eisenberger

Quick facts

  • For information on eligibility and how to access the Housing Stability Benefit visit: www.hamilton.ca/social-services/housing/housing-stability-benefit   
  • Hamilton’s housing and homelessness 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 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 (RGI) units, in the private market using portable housing benefits, and from intensive case management and Rapid Rehousing programs. 

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