Statement from Denise Christopherson, CEO, on National Housing Day

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YWCA Hamilton Staff:

Today is National Housing Day – an opportunity to raise awareness about the need for safe, reliable, and affordable housing in our community.

We have all heard time and time again that Hamilton is experiencing a housing crisis. The waitlist for social housing in Hamilton is over 6,000 families, while housing prices and rents are hitting record-high levels.  According to the Realtor’s Association of Hamilton and Burlington, home prices remain over 40 per cent higher than in 2019, and 16 per cent higher than in 2020 level. Right now, there simply aren’t enough safe, affordable, and reliable places for people in our community to call home.

We know the solution to this problem: get more affordable housing built. Currently, the need in our community is growing faster than housing is being created, and as a result, more and more folks in our community are being displaced from their homes, living in precarious or unsafe housing, or experiencing homelessness.

Here at YWCA Hamilton, we are experts in providing supports and services at all stages of the housing continuum. Carole Anne’s Place, our overnight drop-in centre for women, provides emergency shelter and a safe place to sleep for those in our community who have the most urgent and acute housing needs.

Our Transitional Living Program is the next step on the path of permanent housing, offering low-barrier health care, peer support programming, and one-on-one support as well as a safe place to live for up to a year. Phoenix Place offers a temporary home for mothers and children who have experienced violence, allowing them to rebuild their lives without any threat to their physical or emotional safety.

Finally, our Putman Family YWCA offers permanent, affordable housing for women and their families, as well as wraparound supports in order to ensure that the women and gender-diverse people who live there are able to truly thrive.

Each one of these programs offers a vital service in our community – and, as an organization, we are hoping to open more housing programs for women, women-led families, and gender-diverse people. We are actively pursuing new builds in the community and are eager to expand our housing programs.

However, we cannot begin to tackle new projects without investments from all three levels of government. We are continuously advocating for more funding for housing – including recent meetings with officials on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Provincial Ministers, City Staff and members of City Council.

We need your help to highlight the importance of investments in housing, and to raise awareness about our organization’s readiness and willingness to continue to provide housing to those in our community who need it most. We have the know-how; we have the capability; and we have the experience – now, what we need is the financial support to make it happen.

You spread the word about our #WomenBuildHamilton campaign in support of the Putman Family YWCA – we’ve raised $4.4m toward our $5m goal, and need the community’s help to put us over the top. You can find ways to support here.

Our voices are stronger, together – and together, we can begin to tackle the housing crisis.

Until next time, take care of one another.

Denise

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