It’s budget season at all three levels of government, and YWCA Hamilton has been working hard advocating for needed investments in women at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.
At the municipal level:
– Urging councillors to fund an historic proposed $31-million commitment over three years to foster the creation of supportive housing units in Hamilton, through the Housing Sustainability and Investment Roadmap.
We know that the city has already created a clear vision for the Housing Sustainability and Investment Fund, and we applaud council for recognizing the seriousness of Hamilton’s housing crisis.
What’s needed now are deep and meaningful investments. YWCA Hamilton, like many of our other partners and colleagues in Hamilton, is ready to break ground on a new affordable housing project as soon as much-needed funding comes to fruition.
At the provincial level:
Recommendation #1 – A 5 per cent increase in base funding for developmental services programs.
YWCA Hamilton serves nearly 200 adults with intellectual disabilities through residential care facilities, supported independent living, and day programs. Over three decades, developmental service (DS) organizations have received cumulative base funding increases of less than 4 per cent, though the cost of living has increased by nearly 60 per cent.
Sign the Community Living Ontario petition, here.
Recommendation #2 – Increase and annualize funding for supportive housing and wraparound services for women and children fleeing violence.
Gender-based violence is a growing problem in Ontario; 63 Women died by femicide in 2023, compared to 52 in 2022. We know that the most dangerous time for a woman and her children experiencing violence is when she tries to leave her abuser. YWCA Hamilton supports women and their families fleeing violence to rebuild their confidence, recover from trauma and live meaningful lives through shelter, transitional and affordable housing options.
Recommendation #3 – Increase investment in paid training programs for low-income and newcomer women in STEM and the Trades.
Sustaining well-paid, stable employment is the key to retaining safe housing and raising healthy children. Making well-paying jobs more attainable through specific training programs, delivered in supportive environments, will ensure the greatest success.
At the Federal Level:
Recommendation #1: Focus on the Gendered Housing Crisis with a key investment: Reinvest $600M in the Women and Children Shelter and Transitional Housing Initiative
The Women and Children Shelter and Transitional Housing Initiative is an existing program under the National Housing Strategy. It has already been through two competitive rounds of funding and was oversubscribed – a true testament to its success and the great need for this type of housing across Canada.
YWCA Hamilton is ready to build 90 units of transitional housing – 30 for women with children and 60 for single women. YWCAs across the Country are also ready to build similar housing. Transitional housing buys time post-shelter, and provides life altering wraparound supports. Many women who spend time in transitional housing after fleeing violence have more positive outcomes, and are able to find meaningful work and live independently – often in market-based housing.
Recommendation #2: Invest in Programs which support Women’s Economic Advancement
Women are drivers of vibrant local economies when they have good jobs and affordable, accessible childcare. Financial independence is crucial for women to have full control over the trajectory of their lives – it leads to economic and housing security and safeguards women against violence. It also contributes to reducing the gender wage gap, fostering workforce diversity, and creating a more inclusive and cohesive society.
However, decent, reliable, affordable child care holds the keys to women’s economic success. We applaud the Government’s work to realize a funded and regulated system of childcare and early learning and setting a target to increase spaces by 250,000. YWCA Hamilton provides affordable, accessible high-quality childcare to 350 children daily.
In conclusion, non-profits, like YWCA Hamilton, provide upstream solutions to prevent future crises. We look forward to hearing from all levels of government about their commitment to sustainable funding for the projects and programs that support women, gender-diverse people and families to thrive.