Residential Care Facilities Subsidy Program & Emergency Shelter Services

COVID-19: Tenants and Property Owners

The information below outlines some of the changes, options and supports available to you during these challenging times.   

The Ontario government suspension of new evictions through the COVID-19 crisis has ended as of August 1. Refer to the Landlord and Tenant Board website for details. It is critical that tenants and landlords have a written rent repayment agreement in place with payments that the tenant is able to make in their current financial situation. Tenants should not agree to repayment amounts they are not able to pay. Tenants should speak to their landlord about a repayment agreement even if they have received an eviction notice. Learn more about the financial supports that may be available.

Eviction orders issued before the mid-March Emergency Order are now being enforced. Eviction hearings are now being scheduled. Where landlords have given tenants eviction notices (N notices) during the eviction suspension, landlords must follow the processes in the Residential Tenancies Act to evict a tenant. These eviction processes were recently revised and the changes are retroactive to the March Emergency Order. Landlords and tenants can learn more about these changes to rental and eviction law from the Government of Ontario.

CERB applications are now being reviewed. Individuals who received CERB payments but were ineligible will be required to repay the amounts received. The CRA is asking individuals to repay those amounts by December 31, 2020. If a person repays the CERB before this time, the government says that they won't be fined or get any type of penalty. Review the CERB repayment details. For questions about your individual circumstance, please contact the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.

Tenant questions should be directed to Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. Landlord questions should be directed to Tribunals Ontario. Check this site regularly for additional updates and helpful links. 

Helpful Links:

The Residential Tenancy Act, 2006 (RTA) establishes a framework for the regulation of residential rents and balances the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants. It provides protection for residential tenants from unlawful rent increases and unlawful evictions, and includes processes to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. 

Learn more about landlord rights and responsibilities

Helpful Links:

There are many types of financial support available to help individuals and families experiencing challenges due to COVID-19. A COVID-19 Virtual Assistant is available online to help you find more information on what financial supports are there for you from the Government of Canada.

Learn more about federal and provincial financial supports for individuals

Helpful Links:

The Property Tax Assistance program outlines several financial measures to Hamilton property taxpayers and ratepayers dealing with the possible financial hardship caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.  

Learn more about Support for Property Tax Payers 

Helpful Links:

Landlords are urged to adopt enhanced health and safety measures to protect residents from COVID-19. Residential buildings with a high number of units should adopt new practices and a rigorous cleaning routine to prevent viral spread.

Property owners/tenants are encouraged to check in on vulnerable residents/neighbours, connecting them to appropriate local agencies and supports if necessary.

Helpful Links:

To date, the City of Hamilton has allocated over $700,000 toward supporting vulnerable residents during this difficult time by assisting with food and basic needs, keeping shelters open and working with agencies to provide access to washrooms/showers. Isolation Centres have also been set up to provide food and shelter to any individuals in the shelter system that test positive for COVID-19.

A temporary emergency shelter based out of FirstOntario Centre will offer additional support to individuals who are at-risk and/or experiencing homeless, accommodating overflow from the shelter system to help ensure physical distancing.

Staff are also exploring ways to provide online supports for older adults, offering property owners some form of tax relief and setting up a network to deliver essentials like food and medication to those who are self-isolating but have little support.

List of emergency shelters for men, women, youth and families


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. 

Good Shepherd Family Centre
143 Wentworth Street South,
Hamilton, Ontario  L8N 2Z1
Housing focused shelter and support for families experiencing 

Good Shepherd Centre
135 Mary Street, Box 1003, 
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3R1
Emergency shelter for men in need of temporary accommodation. A daily hot meal is served for non-residents as well. Bag lunch available, also a food bank. Clothing and household items available if needed.

Mission Services Men's Residence 
325 James Street North, 
Hamilton, Ontario L8L 1H3
Programs available to adult men experiencing a crisis in housing, clothing, finances, and personal well-being. Also emergency men's shelter.

Salvation Army Booth Centre
94 York Boulevard, 
Hamilton, Ontario L8R 1R6
Emergency shelter for men. Provides a bag lunch. Also a daily traveling meal van stopping at several downtown locations between 9 pm and midnight. Call for schedule.

Interval House of Hamilton
Crisis Line: 905-387-8881 
Business Line: 905-387-9959
A safe emergency shelter for women with or without children fleeing abuse/violence. Free confidential services include: meals, emergency clothing & personal needs, emergency transportation, 7 days a week.

Martha House 
Crisis Line: 905-523-6277 
Business Line: 905-523-8895
Emergency family shelter specializing in the care of victims of domestic violence. 28 bed security-equipped transition house for women and children in crisis.

Good Shepherd Mary's Place
Crisis line: 905-523-6277
Business line: 905-540-8000
20 Pearl Street North,
Hamilton, Ontario L8R 2Y8
9 bed emergency shelter for homeless women 18 years and older who may experience difficulty in accessing the shelter system.

Native Women's Centre 
Provides safe emergency shelter for all women regardless of age, ancestry, culture, place of origin or sexual orientation, with or without children, who are experiencing a crisis in their lives due to family violence, homelessness, or conflict with the law. 

Inasmuch House
Crisis Line: 905-529-8600 
Business Line: 905-529-8149
Emergency shelter for abused and homeless women and their children, as well as female teenagers over the age of 16.

Emergency shelter for single women

Notre Dame House 
14 Cannon Street West, 
Hamilton, Ontario L8R 3B3
There are 11 beds available for males and 9 beds available for females. Laundry facilities and meals are provided. Additional services are provided through their resource centre from 9-5 p.m. daily. These include school, employment counselling, addictions counselling, public health nurse.

Bylaw Enforcement Protocol (PDF, 22.4 KB)

  • Learn about the process that will commence when the Encampment Taskforce has been contacted regarding an encampment location.  
  • Learn about the Vulnerability Index - Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) for a determination of acuity. 

Residential Care Facilities Complaints?

Tell us. It matters. Do you have complaints about cleanliness, food quality, fire safety, health and safety, infestation or maintenance at a facility? Confidential access for residents, families and service providers. Contact us at 905-546-2424 ext. 2026 or [email protected].


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