The City of Hamilton announced Tuesday (Mar. 30) that $1-million of the 2021 budget will be earmarked for the rapid repair of out-of-service social housing units and increasing the Housing Stability Benefit budget to support tenants at risk of losing housing due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Half of the million dollars will be spread across eight social housing providers, enabling 53 chronically vacant social housing units in need of extensive repair to be “more quickly” restored and rent ready this year.
According to City staff, the units required significant repair and maintenance including plumbing, walls, electrical, and renovations.
As of Dec. 31, 2020, there were 6,647 individuals on the waitlist for subsidized housing in Hamilton.
The other half of the $1-million investment will be allocated to a “rent bank” through the Housing Stability Benefit budget which will support residents who may be impacted by the loss of employment or federal benefits due to the pandemic and who may face eviction due to missed rent payments.
“Ultimately this will help people maintain their housing and prevent homelessness,” according to an official media release from the City. “This investment builds on the City’s strategic goals to address housing and homelessness challenges throughout the city in alignment with Hamilton’s 10-year Housing & Homelessness Action Plan.”
Hamilton’s housing and homelessness system administration is funded by all levels of government and allocates and invests approximately $120-million annually into the housing and homelessness system, including a $64-million municipal contribution in 2021.
“Through the creativity of staff, community partners and committee members and prudent fiscal management of the City’s Housing and Homelessness portfolio, the City has advanced important long-term initiatives while balancing the current emergency response in our community,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
“This investment illustrates our commitment to developing safe and affordable housing with the right supports through Hamilton’s 10-year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan.”
At least 400 new affordable housing units in Hamilton are scheduled to break ground this year and into 2022.
Editor’s Note: a previous version of the story stated that 662 households were on the waitlist for subsidized housing. It has been corrected and changed to 6,647 individuals.