How the City of Hamilton wants to spend a $14M investment from the Ontario government

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Published August 17, 2021 at 7:54 pm


The COVID-19 pandemic has e its toll Hamilton’s most vulnerable members of the community 

Tent cities and insecure housing  As the City of Hamilton and advocate groups wrestle with solutions 

The City of Hamilton is receiving $14.8 million from the Ontario government in Social Services Relief Funds as it continues to look for solutions to an insecure housing crisis that was further exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding, announced Tuesday (Aug. 17), will be used to “deliver critical services, create longer-term housing solutions and keep vulnerable people safe,” according to an official media release.

“As cases rise and we enter a fourth wave, we must do all we can to ensure that all of us, particularly our most vulnerable, are safe and healthy with an affordable place to live,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “This funding comes at a welcome time and we are grateful for the ongoing support from our provincial partner.”

The City also says the funds will mitigate the financial pressure on the Municipal levy and “support the continuation of critical COVID-19 related supports for vulnerable members of the community served by the homelessness system”.

On Aug. 9, council voted 10 to 2 in support of a motion that will repeal a bylaw enforcement protocol that permitted some individuals to camp in public spaces for up to 14 days. Starting Aug. 30, encampments on all City properties, including public parks, will be prohibited and enforced.

Advocates called the decision “dehumanizing” and “insidious.”

“The only solution is housing,” said a spokesperson from the Hamilton Encampment Support Network (HESN).

After the funding was announced, the City said it remains focused on advancing long-term permanent solutions to Hamilton’s housing pressures.

Since the beginning of the pandemic through the Government of Ontario’s Social Service Relief Funds (SSRF), the City has directed $37 million into the housing and homelessness system response.

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