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Hamilton seeks provincial funds to help homeless with greatest mental health, addictions challenges

City of Hamilton buildings were closed for much of 2020, helping the city achieve an emission reductions target ahead of schedule.
City of Hamilton buildings were closed for much of 2020, helping the city achieve an emission reductions target ahead of schedule. Ken Mann / Global News

The city of Hamilton is asking the province for funding to help meet the emergency housing needs of Hamiltonians most likely to be living in encampments.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger says city representatives met with the associate minister of mental health and addictions to request a $5-million contribution toward the creation of housing with “wraparound” supports.

Read more: Hamilton councillor seeks to bring together stakeholders to address housing crisis

Edward John, Hamilton’s director of housing, said about 100 people face the greatest barriers to housing, due to gaps in the system.

“The advocacy occurring, right now, is to ensure that we have (support) for those with the highest acuity,” John says. Typically, he adds, those facing the greatest barriers to housing are also in need of support beyond housing itself.

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The mayor says he was joined, during a meeting this week, by leaders from Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton Police Chief Frank Bergen and others, to request support for what he calls a joint initiative.

Read more: Premier Doug Ford kicks off housing summit with funding to help municipalities cut red tape

Eisenberger said the proposal “not only provides health and support for homeless that have mental health and addictions issues and need those wraparound supports, but also lightens the load in our hospitals and policing.”

City officials have stated that the number of people living outside ranges from 80 to 140 throughout the year.

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