By Patrick McDonald, SPRC Co-Op Student, Aldershot High School
This week a rally in front of Hamilton City Hall reached its desired effect with council members arriving at a unanimous decision to ensure there is enough money for the Housing Stability Fund until the end of winter. After the emergency housing fund ran out of money thousands of people were under threat of losing their homes this winter without access to emergency funds for hydro or rent.
A group of people led by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic met outside to put pressure on councillors to find the necessary money. Signs were made and voices raised to draw attention to people needing more than just shelters – they need a home to build their lives in. Out in the cold people gathered with nothing but some signs, a microphone, and some hot chocolate, to get their point across.
After the rally, the group moved inside city hall and made their way into the emergency city council meeting. There they heard the story of Natasha Findlay-Clairmont, a full time student at McMaster, all while taking care of two kids and her mother. After she was given an eviction notice from her landlord due to no fault of her own, this fund is what kept her family safe in a home, instead of out on the streets fighting to eat. “Not having the housing stability benefit puts not only myself, but many Hamilton citizens at risk of being homeless” she says. Without this fund, Natasha didn’t know how she would be able to pay rent, as well as the cost of moving. Without this fund, as many as 600 low income Hamilton residents may lose their ability to apply for this fund.