Ward 3 Coun. Nrinder Nann said there needs to be “agreement” and “unity” in solving Hamilton’s homelessness crisis.
She has presented a motion, approved by the emergency and community services committee on Thursday, that will bring together experts and those with lived experience for a “solution-focused” planning session.
Nann said encampments will persist until the city implements a strategy that addresses the unique health needs of the estimated 80 to 140 people who are living rough.
“We have no other choice, at this time, other than to rise in leadership,” said Nann, noting there are a “myriad” of reasons why people have become unhoused.
“Yes, some of our encamped residents and neighbours are experiencing crises as it relates to addictions,”, said Nann, “but not all of them.”
“Some of them have become unhoused as a result of renovictions, some of them have become unhoused as a result of dealing with domestic violence and sexual violence.”
Nann’s motion calls for a roundtable bringing health sector and housing providers together with those who have lived experience of being homeless and organizations that provide them with front-line support.
A recent study revealed at least 19 people without residences died in the city during a six-month period in 2021.
“The most alarming statistic we found in the data, was that the average age at the time of death was 36,” said Dr. Jill Wiwcharuk, an inner-city physician who was co-author of the report, “Deaths in the Hamilton Homeless Population.”
“The most alarming statistic we found in the data … was that the average age at the time of death was 36,” Wiwcharuk said.
Nann told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton the gathering is really more a planning session for creating a “unified solution” identifying needs for the current shelter and housing system.
“We’re wasting so much precious governing time talking about enforcing those individuals, wasting city public fund resources that come from taxpayers in enforcing it rather than solving the problem,” Nann said.
Hamilton has made an ask from the Ford government to help meet emergency housing needs of Hamiltonians most likely to be living in encampments.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger and city representatives met with the associate minister of mental health and addictions Michael Tibollo to request a $5-million contribution toward the creation of housing with “wraparound” supports.
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