It seems less likely that a community of tiny Hamilton homeless shelters will be ready to go in time for winter.
The Hamilton Alliance for Tiny Shelters (HATS) hoped councilors would agree to provide $300,000 in funding to establish the cabins in an empty lot on Barton Street East, starting in mid-January.
But that decision was deferred to a January meeting, which is after the initial rollout date for the cabin community.
Opening of Hamilton’s first small homeless shelter on James Street North
Staff are being asked to compare Barton’s lot with other sites also offered by the alliance, given the pushback from residents who say they haven’t had enough time to provide feedback.
A long list of delegates spoke at a town meeting on Thursday, many of whom opposed the currently proposed site of Barton Street East, saying they had not been consulted there.
Brenda Duke of the Gibson and Lansdale Community Planning Team told the Emergency and Community Services (ECS) Committee that she ‘applauds the initiative’ but fears it is ‘a temporary fix’ to a city-wide problem.
Gibson, a resident of Ward 3, said her community was working ‘to surpass’ assessment as a ‘code red’ area in 2021 – a designation defined by a series of articles from the Hamilton Spectator identifying gaps in expectation of life.
“So we ask you to wait. Let’s adjust the project, support it and put it where it will do the most good,” Duke said.
“Let’s keep our homes and let our businesses thrive on a revitalizing trade corridor.
Wesley Urban Ministries executive director Don Seymour, who partners with HATS, told advisers the group had done their research and he had never seen a group of volunteers “put so many dots on the I and cross as many T’s.
Secure Temporary Location for Hamilton’s Homeless Tiny Shack Community
“They liaised with politicians, they did in-depth interviews with people with lived experience … which are so extensive, I’ve never seen it before in a group outside of our own organizations,” explained Seymour.
District 3 Com. Nrinder Nann suggested that city staff “help out” with a report that assesses other suitable sites identified by delegates at the committee meeting, including the former site of the Sir John A. Macdonald and Scout House on James Street.
“I’ve seen a number of other things in the ‘nice to haves’ which I think can be more easily developed than on a very small piece of land which has been generously donated by a private landowner who is running into difficulties. residential homes and to a commercial corridor that’s…trying to pick up its legs.
The ECS committee voted five to one to postpone the initiative and is expected to revisit the matter on January 19, 2023.
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