The tiny homes issue got another kick down the road, with staff being directed to come up with more alternatives as well as a policy framework to govern the initiative. Its been almost a year since the Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters (HATS) came to council with an idea to establish an encampment to accommodate 10 of the shelters . The original plan was to locate the tiny homes on a vacant lot on Barton Street. The owner of the property was willing to host the site but the project was scrapped after neighbourhood concerns were raised. Since then, HATS has come back with three other potential locations and for one reason or another the sites have been rejected. Commenting on Wednesday’s decision to send the matter back to staff for more work, Councillor Brad Clark may have summed up the real issue—nobody wants the tiny homes anywhere near their neighbourhood and its time to come clean with the HATS group.
It’s clear that Hamilton staff have never been crazy about the Tiny Homes initiative. A staff report on the Tiny Homes project described it as not fitting within the typical housing continuum as it “is neither emergency shelter or permanent housing,” but acknowledged that the proposal reflects “a broader long-term failure of public policy at all levels.” The staff report recommended that the Tiny Homes concept be time limited“ to ensure this does not become embedded as a permanent intervention.” Continuing, the report called for “collective efforts to rapidly prioritize and invest in deeply affordable permanent housing solutions should be prioritized.”
The ball is back in staff’s court. Councillors pressed them to provide an early date for a study and recommendations. Initially staff suggested four months but when pressed said they might be able to come up with something sooner, but it would mean other work in the homelessness area might have to wait.