While the debate rages on about the dismantling of homeless encampments in Hamilton. City staff are gearing up for providing shelter for the homeless this winter with approximately $3 Million in projects. These include:
Transitioning the former Cathedral Boys School into a temporary shelter for women (approximately 80-100 beds) at an approximate cost of $1 Million.
Adding approximately 28 temporary emergency shelter beds as men’s overflow at an approximate cost of $350,000.
Something new would be the establishment of a $500,000 fund to support churches, social clubs who have expressed interest in supporting vulnerable residents through the winter months until March 31, 2022 but who may not have the operational funds to be viable.
Creation of a special fund of $500,000 to address homelessness experienced by Indigenous community members who are overrepresented in the homeless population of Hamilton.
A grant of of $500,000 to the YWCA Hamilton for capital renovations required to continue to operate Carol Anne’s Place as a temporary drop in program for 22 single homeless women.
A grant of of $150,000 to the Good Shepherd Centre Hamilton for capital renovations required to continue to operate Cathedral as a temporary shelter for women.
Staff are also recommending that a consultant be hired to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a New Westminster style bylaw which was used in that BC city to combat renovictions. The city has already taken preliminary steps recently to discourage renovictions by denying some develpers tax increment grants, which were designed to encourage the construction of residential units in the city core.
Director of Housing Services, Edward John also presented Emergency and Community Services Committee with a detailed snapshot of the homelessness situation in Hamilton. The report says over 15 percent of Hamilton residents are experiencing housing need which is defined as requiring more than 30 percent of household income for shelter. The report also says there are 1375 persons in Hamilton identified as homeless.