Social Housing

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


What is Access to Housing

Access to Housing or ATH helps with the application process and maintains the central waiting list for subsidized housing for social housing providers in Hamilton.

Subsidized housing is rent‐geared‐to‐income or RGI housing which is based on 30% of a household’s gross monthly income or if the household is receiving assistance from Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program, a social assistance rent scale is applied. Additional charges may apply depending on the building (i.e. parking/ utilities).

  • ATH is not a landlord and does not offer housing to applicants.
  • They can not predict or guess when you will be housed.
  • They do not provide emergency shelters or housing.
  • List of emergency shelters

How to apply for subsidized housing

Step 1: Application for Housing and Building Selection Forms are available online, through all non-profit housing providers and from: 

Access to Housing (ATH)
350 King St East, Suite 110 (First Place)
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Y3
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 3708
Fax: 905-546-2809
[email protected]

Housing Help Centre
119 Main Street East
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z3
Phone: 905-526-8100

CityHousing Hamilton
181 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4R8
Phone: 905-523-8496

City of Hamilton - Housing Services
350 King Street East, Unit 110
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Y3
Phone: 905-546-2424

Step 2: Read the instructions carefully and if you have any questions, call ATH at 905-546-2424 ext. 3708.

  • Complete the application form using blue or black pen.
  • Ensure that the application is signed by each member of the household who is 16 years or older and listed as on the application form.

Download, print and complete these forms as required based on your circumstance:

Step 3: Submit your application and all applicable supporting documents to ATH by mail, fax or in person. Applications cannot be submitted online. ATH determines eligibility for Rent-Geared-to-Income (RGI) housing based on a complete application only. Your application will not be considered for eligibility if the application form is incomplete or if documents are missing.

Who can apply for subsidized housing

To qualify for social housing in Hamilton, applicants must:

  • Be 16 years of age or older and be able to live independently
  • Each member of the household must be a Canadian Citizen, Landed Immigrant or Refugee Claimant
  • No member of the household has a deportation order, departure or exclusion order under the Immigration Act
  • No member of the household owes arrears for rent or damage to any social housing provider in Ontario
  • If you own residential property, you must agree to sell within 180 days after RGI assistance is received

Documents required for social housing applications

The following is a list of required documents that must be provided with your application for everyone listed on the application form. Some items may not apply to some individuals.

  • Copies of Canadian birth certificates, Canadian passport, landed immigrant, permanent resident card or refugee claimant documents for all members of the household.
  • Custody documentation (i.e. Court/ lawyer/ CAS, ex-partner, etc.).
  • Copy of a repayment schedule for anyone in your household who owes money to any social housing provider in Ontario.
  • Copies of household monthly income of you and all persons who will be living with you.
  • Self-employed - please provide proof of income such as your latest income tax, investment Interest income, pay stubs, etc.
  • Copies of owned assets of all household.
  • If pregnant, provide proof of pregnancy (i.e. doctors note)
  • If you are claiming homelessness, abuse, a serious medical condition, a dangerous or life threatening situation, etc., proof is required from someone in a professional position (court/ lawyer/ doctor/ police/ worker).

Applications submitted without the requested documents will not be processed. You will be advised in writing that your application is incomplete. You will not be placed on the waiting list, until all the required documents are received.

Applicant responsibilities

Applicants for social housing have a number of responsibilities:

  • You are responsible to notify ATH of any changes to your information in order to maintain your eligibility status;
  • You are responsible to confirm your interest in remaining on the waiting list for housing. This confirmation must be done with ATH once a year. A reminder letter will be sent to you.

Applicants must notify Access to Housing (ATH) if:

  • Your address changes;
  • Your phone number changes;
  • You want to live in locations other than those you chose on your application;
  • The number of people in your household changes;
  • The contact person on your application changes;
  • Your income changes;
  • Your Immigration status changes.

Notice of any change in any information or documents must be submitted within 30 business days of the change. A longer time as may be allowed by ATH or the City of Hamilton.