Residential Care Facilities Subsidy Program

The Residential Care Facilities (RCF) Subsidy Program provides funding for the operation of safe and affordable supported housing in a communal setting for people who require assistance with the daily activities of life. In addition, they also provide funding to agencies that provide Emergency Shelter Services or a temporary place to stay for people who are homeless. 

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The Residential Care Facilities (RCF) Subsidy Program

The Residential Care Facilities (RCF) Subsidy Program prevents homelessness by providing a subsidy for safe and affordable supported housing in a communal setting (Residential Care Facility) for people who require assistance with the daily activities of life.

The City of Hamilton recognizes the RCF Subsidy Program as an important part of the housing continuum. The program offers choices of housing with support options for people who would otherwise be homeless, inappropriately housed in institutions and/or shelters or inadequately supported in other settings.

The goal is for residents to achieve housing stability with the greatest community participation and quality of life possible.

The RCF Subsidy Program provides funding for the operation of affordable and stable housing in Residential Care Facilities with supports individualized to each resident’s needs. Funding is connected to individual residents on a per diem basis. Supports are provided through collaboration with the resident, the Residential Care Facility and community agencies as appropriate. The City, in conjunction with the Province, determines the criteria that Residential Care Facilities must meet in order to receive subsidy payments through this program.

The City explores ways to improve the quality of life of the residents through either the provision of additional direct service, purchase of service from community agencies or increased funding to the operators

The City of Hamilton does not generally fund support services for RCF residents such as intensive case management and therapeutic services. Health care, mental health and developmental services are available in the community and are funded directly by the Province.

Given the limited funding, it is crucial to leverage existing programs in the community. The Recreation Division has increased the amount and type of low and no cost programming. Many of these opportunities are appropriate for RCF residents.

Eligibility criteria

All potential residents are assessed by a qualified health professional as to their eligibility for a given facility prior to admission in accordance with Schedule 20 of the By-law. An additional financial review for subsidy is completed by City of Hamilton staff.

To qualify for the RCF Subsidy Program an individual must:

  • be 18 years of age or over
  • meet established asset and income criteria
  • be able to maintain personal mobility at the time of admission
  • require assistance with identified activities of daily living

Eligibility to live in a Residential Care Facility and receive subsidy through the program is based on functional assessments and means testing, rather than specific diagnoses. Lack of diagnostic specificity reflects the primary mission of the program which is to address the housing needs of the individual first.

Length of Stay

  • Individuals have unique requirements and remain housed through this program as long as the individual requires the level of service.
  • Chooses to live in a subsidized facility because it meets their identified goals.
  • Individual’s needs do not exceed the level of service provided by the program.

Residential Care Facilities that have a Subsidy Agreement through the RCF Subsidy Program share common characteristics which include but are not limited to:

  • Communal living in a welcoming, clean and pleasing environment.
  • Freedom from harassment and/or the threat of violence for both staff and residents.
  • Common areas that can be accessed and utilized by all residents.
  • Communal spaces for dining and/or recreation and social activity.
  • Accessible staffing presence.
  • The provision of meal services, support for medication management and cleaning/laundry services.
  • The RCF Subsidy Program aspires to offer residents the choice of neighbourhood, size of residence, targeted or general client group, single or mixed gender, and single or shared rooms.

The principles adopted by the City of Hamilton as part of the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan also apply to the RCF Subsidy Program.

  • Person-Centred Supports: Residents need to be placed at the centre of decision making regarding setting goals and accessing supports.
  • Rights-Based and Anti-Discrimination: Residents often face stigma and barriers in the housing market. The RCF Subsidy Program must work to ensure that residents are treated with fairness and equity.
  • Risk and Protective Factors: The RCF Subsidy Program , RCF Operators and community service providers must work to help residents develop their strengths and address their challenges.
  • Evidence-Based, Measurable and Impact-Driven: Decisions within the RCF Subsidy Program should be based on intentional planning and good evidence which have measurable positive impacts and outcomes.

Efficient and Effective Use of Community Resources: Budgets and policies should be fair and transparent, while keeping the full system of housing and homelessness services in consideration.

  • Integrated and Comprehensive Community Planning: The success of residents is supported by the coordination of services in the Residential Care Facility and across the community.
  • Place and Neighbourhoods: The RCF Subsidy Program provides an important form of housing in different neighbourhoods and provides opportunities for social inclusion for its residents.

Supports in the RCF Subsidy Program are:

  • Individualized to residents.
  • Integrated through planning involving the resident, facility operators and staff, community service and health care providers and City of Hamilton staff.
  • Direct supports including but not limited to the provision of meals, cleaning services, support for individual activities of daily living and the facilitation of access to medical and social services.
  • Indirect supports include but are not limited to the coordination of services and identification of resources.
  • Articulated in a Resident Plan that identifies specific support needs and resident goals.
  • Flexible as resident needs change with time and circumstance.

A resident qualifying for the RCF Subsidy Program has inherently complex support needs. As such any facility with a subsidy agreement will operate in a manner that facilitates best resident outcomes. Operational characteristics of facilities include:

  • High levels of collaboration
  • Requests for assistance where services extend beyond scope
  • Reasonable access to the facility by identified services
  • Reasonable access to information that facilitates support of the resident

Conversely, partnering agencies and providers will conduct their business within a facility in a manner that is respectful of residents, facility operators and staff.

If you have any additional questions regarding the RCF Subsidy Program, please call 905-546-2424, Ext. 2225