Feds drop large portion of $64 million earmarked for affordable housing in Hamilton

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau along with Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath during a press conference on affordable housing at a mixed-use development at 90 Carling St. in Westdale. Global News

A joint venture between Ottawa and the City of Hamilton will see some $64 million spent to build and repair a couple of hundred affordable homes.

The two levels of government updated four housing projects on Monday that will target seniors, women and children fleeing domestic violence, people experiencing mental health and addiction issues, and Indigenous Peoples.

The federal portion is expected to be around $45 million as part of its National Housing Strategy (NHS) program providing low-interest loans to encourage the construction of more purpose-built rental housing.

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Hamilton will chip in about $19.1 million.

The developments include:

  • 100 rental housing units at 90 Carling St. in Westdale.
  • Development at Bay and Hunter streets accommodating people experiencing homelessness, particularly women and children.
  • Housing for seniors at 32 Clapham Rd. in the east end.
  • Homes for Indigenous Peoples at 219 East Ave. N. in Lansdale.

During a media availability in Westdale Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed that some of those 214 units will be available as early as the fall.

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One-bedroom units at the Carling address are expected to go for about $1,400 a month.

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The announcement comes days after Mayor Andrea Horwath and city staff met with the five Hamilton-area MPs to discuss housing affordability.

Trudeau characterized the city’s participants as a “great partner in a visionary city” seeking a common goal of “build(ing) solutions” to take “pressures off all spaces in housing.”

The prime minister also made a gesture to bring the province to the table.

“I’d love to be able to be sharing … the stage right now, not just with the mayor of Hamilton, but with the province,” Trudeau said.

“They need to be stepping up as well, particularly on affordable housing. That is something that the federal government is taking very seriously.”

With some of the investment earmarked to help homelessness, Trudeau suggested that solutions for the estimated 165 people residing in the city’s encampments should be based on a “compassionate, grounded in reason, science approach” to the matter.

“We need to be investing more to support people right now, even as we build greater economic opportunities into the future,” he said.

Horwath says city, Ottawa working on solutions to refugees living on streets

The mayor says she has received a response from the federal government following a $9-million ask to manage recent spikes in refugee and asylum seekers coming in to use the city’s shelter system.

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Horwath made the request via a letter to the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, suggesting some 200 arrived last week alone from other municipalities despite Hamilton not being a typical host community for refugees.

Trudeau said vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers sleeping in the streets was “unacceptable” and that Ottawa will be “working together” with the city to “solve that.”

“We’ve made a commitment to work together to try to resolve the challenges that exist because people should not be in the situation that they are coming to our country, whether they’re asylum seekers or refugees and living on our streets,” Horwath said.

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