Hamilton to get over $1 million in funding from Province for asylum seekers

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Published September 18, 2023 at 5:48 pm

refugee asylum seekers homeless housing funding

Hamilton is getting $1,076,400 from the provincial government as assistance for asylum seekers and other at-risk populations, part of $42 million in new provincial money for the Canada Ontario Housing Benefit program.

The Canada Ontario Housing Benefit (COHB) program provides households with a portable housing benefit to assist with rental costs in the private housing market. The benefit is tied to the household and can be used to help pay rent anywhere in Ontario. In July, Mayor Andrea Horwath put out a plea urging the federal government for more support to help the homeless, including more than $9 million in immediate funding.

These funds come at a time when the City’s emergency response system is on the brink of collapse because it has recently been flooded with refugees and asylum seekers.

According to a recent city staff report, the city’s family shelter system is under a lot of pressure due to the influx of refugees and asylum seekers in the city.

There is only one emergency shelter providing support for families experiencing homelessness, the Good Shepherd Family Centre. It has 104 beds of which 80 are funded through the Housing Services Division.

Currently, the center is operating at double its funded capacity, and due to a lack of space, families are sleeping in all available areas, including hallways and administrative spaces.

“This is a great start and will help move asylum seekers out of shelter and into permanent housing, freeing up critical shelter space in our city,” said Mayor Horwath in a tweet.

An additional $330,000 will be provided to the Ministry of Finance and Service Ontario for administration of the funding.

The program works on a cost-sharing basis with municipalities and provinces to provide temporary housing to asylum claimants.

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