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Feds to invest $12.9M for new affordable homes in Hamilton

MP Adam Vaughan, parliamentary secretary for housing, responds to questions following a funding announcement in Hamilton on July 23, 2021. City of Hamilton

Hamilton is set to receive another $12.9 million from Ottawa for the creation of permanent homes for desperate residents on a waitlist for affordable housing.

The federal government revealed the budget contribution at a presser on Friday and says the money is part of an additional $1.5-billion investment in its Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) set to create 4,500 new units of affordable housing across Canada.

“This funding will support the rapid creation of an estimated 49 new permanent and affordable housing units for people living in precarious housing situations as well as for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness,” Hamilton-West Ancaster Dundas Liberal MP Filomena Tassi said Friday during a media conference at the YWCA on Ottawa Street North.

Read more: Hamilton now third least affordable housing market in North America, according to study

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The new units are expected to be built within 12 months when funding is provided to program applicants. At least 25 per cent of the new funding will go toward women-focused housing.

“Today’s announcement around rapid housing is targeting those living in the most precarious situation,” said parliamentary secretary for housing and Toronto MP Adam Vaughan.

“So that’s shelters, sleeping rough in parks and ravines and what have you.”

Vaughan said the tenant model for projects under the RHI vary from city to city and it has not been determined whether the Hamilton units will help individuals, couples or families.

He suggested an example of a potential development under the RHI could be the acquisition of a motel or hotel with a parking lot that could be altered into a housing asset.

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“What this allows the city of Hamilton to do is to acquire the site to house people immediately,” Vaughan said.

Read more: Feds to provide funding for 95 energy efficient rental homes in Hamilton

“Then to turn that parking lot downstream, partnered in with the co-investment fund and other organizations like the YWCA, and turn the parking lot into new housing opportunities.”

Hamilton’s waitlist for affordable housing stands at 5,400 households as of July 2021 with an average wait of three to five years for qualified applicants. About 4,000 are people in need, while the rest are people looking for a transfer to a new home.

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