Winter supports for homeless people launch in Hamilton

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Published November 29, 2023 at 10:16 am

Winter homeless
Photo by Chris Burke

The City of Hamilton is about to launch several winter supports for those experiencing homelessness.

Hamilton put a winter response strategy together including several support methods. They’re set to roll out these supports on Dec. 1. They remain in place throughout the winter until Mar. 31. These include;

  • a warming bus
  • extended hours at some recreation centres and the library’s Central branch at 55 York Blvd.
  • two new 24-hour washrooms in Corktown Park and J.C. Beemer Park
  • 100 new daytime shelter drop-in spaces, and
  • 80 overnight shelter spaces

“This strategy is being implemented in an effort to provide a more robust and effective response to community needs, especially those living unhoused,” the city wrote, “The response is not tied to the City’s existing cold alert system.”

The warming bus runs is a Hamilton Street Railway bus which runs every night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. It serves as a free spot for anyone in need of a place to warm up. It’ll run along a predetermined route through the city’s core with two outreach workers on board. The bus will stop at;

  • Westmount Recreation Centre
  • Mohawk Rd. & Upper James St.
  • Lime Ridge Mall, Route 26
  • Valley Park Recreation Centre
  • Stoney Creek Recreation Centre
  • Eastgate Square Terminal
  • Walmart Supercentre, Stoney Creek
  • Norman Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre
  • King St. E. & Victoria Ave. S.
  • Cannon St. E. & Mary St.
  • Park St. No. & Cannon St. W.
  • 20 Hunter St. W.
  • King St. W. & Pearl St. S.
  • Main St. W. & Whitney Ave.
  • West Hamilton Bus Loop, Route 51

Three recreation centres will remain open until 11 p.m. every day and from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on statutory holidays. They will also serve as warming shelters during regular hours. They include;

  • Westmount Recreation Centre, 35 Lynbrook Dr
  • Valley Park Recreation Centre, 970 Paramount Dr. in Stoney Creek
  • Norman Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre, 192 Wentworth St N

The Central library branch will also operate on statutory holidays;

  • Monday, December 25 – Christmas Day
  • Tuesday, December 26 – Boxing Day
  • Monday, January 1 – New Year’s Day
  • Monday, February 19 – Family Day
  • Friday, March 29 – Good Friday
  • Sunday, March 31 – Easter Sunday
  • Monday, April 1 – Easter Monday

The new drop-in shelter spaces include 50 at Living Rock Ministries (30 Wilson St.) and 50 at Christ’s Church Cathedral (252 James St. N.). The 80 new overnight spots include 35 at Mission Services Men’s Shelter for men (400 King St. E.) and 45 at Willow’s Place (196 Wentworth St. N.) for all cisgender women, transgender people and non-binary people.

“Our Winter Response Strategy reflects our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of unhoused individuals during the winter season. We’re committed to ensuring those who need more supports and options to keep warm during the harsh winter months will have those available to them,” said Mayor Andrea Horwath.

 

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