Hamilton to receive $10.8M in federal dollars for new housing

Hamilton city councillors have taken the first step towards creation of a vacant home tax, as a way addressing an affordable housing crisis. Global News

Hamilton is among more than a dozen communities across Canada to get an immediate cash infusion to address supportive housing needs.

On Tuesday, Ottawa followed up on an earlier announcement in September, announcing details about how its $1-billion Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) will be allocated to municipalities across Canada.

Major cities will divide $500 million among 15 communities, with Hamilton’s share coming in at $10.8 million.

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Mayor Fred Eisenberger was complimentary of the federal government in a social media post following the announcement, saying the cash will help address the city’s “affordable housing pressures … by providing $10.8 million in guaranteed funding that will help provide vulnerable and low-income residents with good quality and stable housing,” Eisenberger said.


Ottawa set aside a billion dollars for the new rapid housing plan in September to create up to 3,000 new units across the country.

The funding comes in two streams, with half going to a major cities stream and the other half providing funds for a projects stream.

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Hamilton-area MP Filomena Tassi says 17 local organizations could potentially access the projects stream which targets the most vulnerable populations.

Tassi says a key part of Ottawa’s strategy is modular housing which can be built rapidly and transported to qualifying organizations.

“So the purchase of land and the purchase of the modular housing units would be included in these conversion opportunities,” Tassi told Global News.

Commercial spaces, such as hotels and schools, that can be converted are also projects that can qualify for the funding.

“Housing units that are there but need a lot of TLC, need renovations, need work, those are the three tranches that can be applied for,” said Tassi.

The other cities receiving cash are Quebec City, London, Region of Waterloo, Halifax, Calgary, Region of Peel, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Surrey, Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto and Capital Regional District (British Columbia).

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Applications for the RHI funding will be allocated through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).

Submissions will be accepted between Oct. 27 and Dec. 31, 2020. Projects must be completed within 12 months of a signed agreement, and unused funds will be re-allocated to other projects.

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